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From among the many highly commendatory notices of this 
work, we select the following : — 

From Hon. CJiarhs Sumner. 

Washington, April 9, 1858. 

My Dear Sir: — Your little book of Southern Sentiment on the 
Subject of Slavery^^'' is a most useful, interesting and inspiring compend 
of opinion, uttered by good men at the South, against a great wrong. I 
thank you for compiling it; and deplore, more than ever, the sectional 
madness, which rejects this most conclusive testimony. Every word 
of your publication ought to be proclaimed and repeated, with the voice 
of a trumpet. Believe me, Dear Sir, very faithfully Yours, 

Charles Sumner. 

Daniel R. Goodloe. 

From Hon. William Blair, 

Silver Spring, April 29, 1858. 

Daniel R. Goodloe, Esq., 

Dear Sir : — I have seen your collection of the opinions of the public 
men, in the South, who established our government — touching the 
subject of Slavery — and unite with many of the friends of free labor, 
in considering it a most valuable compilation ; and well calculated to 
influence the action of the nation, on the momentous question, which 
now seems to be paramount to all others, in controlling the future ten- 
dency of our political Institutions. I think you should call it " The 
Southern Republican Platform," — as distinguishing that of the 
fathers of the Government, from that now set up by the dominant 
Southern oligarchy. Yours Truly, William Blair. 

From Hon. Messrs. Wilson and Hale. 

Washington, April 29, 1858. 

Daniel R. Goodloe, Esq., 

Dear Sir : — We have examined, with care, your compilation, en- 
titled, " The Southern Platform," — being a collection of the expressions 
of Southern opinion against slavery, commencing with the Revolution, 
and continued to recent times. It exhibits great research and thor- 
oughness, and deserves to have an extensive circulation, north and south. 
It proves, most conclusively, that opposition to slavery, now said to be 
sectional, was once national. 

Your work, valuable for everybody, w^e shall esteem especially val- 
uable, as a reference book, for editors, and for those who are in the habit 
of addressing the people upon political subjects. 
Very Truly, your Friends, 

Henry Wilj^on-, 
John P. Hale. 












PRE F j^o E. 

In the compilation of this volume, I have attempted to bring together all that the most eminent Southern 
Revoluii )nary c haracters hnve leli us in their writings, upon th- «ubj 'ct of f^lavery. It will b seen that their 
testimony is rilmost unanimous against the institution. The leading miiuls of the South, except those of South 
Caroli 'a and G^orsiin, w^rp not less impressed witu the evils «,f Slavery— moral, economical, and • olitical— 
than those of th^ iV nn. Indeed, the most ultra Anti-Slavery views which this volume will be found to contain 
are those ^f Mr. JeffV^rs^n. In ihe Federal Convention which fram 'd the Constitu ion. not a voice was raised 
in unqualified de ence and junification ' f S avery. for even the members from South Carolina only apologized 
for the institution; while tho«e from Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, either openly denounced it as 
criminal and disgraceful, or freely admitted its evils 

In the Stale Conven ions, Slavery was 'reated with equal disfavor. In those of Virginia and North Carolina, 
it was renrobated byFed -ralists and Anti-Federalists— by the friends and the enemies of the Constitution. 
Patrick Hetiry and George iWason were not l<»'=s l.'ud i < their denunciations of Slavery, than Madison, Edmund 
Randolph, and Pendleton. In the North Carolina Couveniions, the leading characters were equally emphatic 
in condemning it. 

The<e invilnable testimonies against Slavery, coming from the highest Southern authorities, will be 
treasurpd up by Anti-Slavf-ry men, as indubitable proof of the justice of their cause. But I apprtheiid that many 
will feel regret and disappoiniment on finding that the same great men who reprobated Slavery as a, unmiti- 
gated evil, were no less strenuous in shielding it from the i,,tetference of the Federal Government, than its 
avowed advoc Ues I p'^ofess to s^t forth the views of the men of the Revolution upon the question of Slavery 
and I must do so fair'y and impartially; and, to this end, I have taken nearly every pas'age from the Madison 
Papers and Ellioii's Debates, in the Federal and State Conveniions, which relate to the subjec;, with extended 
extracts from the Debates in Congress during the Administration of General Washington. 

To denounce Slavery in one breath, and to insist upon ( onstimtional guarantees for its maintenance in the 
next, may seem inconsistent to the minds of ardent Anti-Slavery men of the present day; but they should 
recollect that the whole que-^tion of State Rights is involved in this one of Slavery, and that to surrender the 
sovereignty of the States in this instance, is to open the way to consolidation And, further, allowing Slavery 
to be an unmitigated evil, as the people of the South generally did at that time, they justly regarded themselves 
as better qualified o Hpply the remedy than the people of distant States, who were not particularly interested 
in the matter. I think that reasonable Anti-Slavery men, upon cool reflection, will concede this point. 

My object in making this publication is not to produce sectional feeling, but to awaken in Southern minds 
those noble and generous sentiments of freedom wliich animated their ancestors. 

When the American people emerged from the war of the Revolution, their commerce and agriculture were 
in a state of ruin; and the Federation, the States, a id individuals, were overwhelmed with debt. It required 
great faith in the success of the Republican experiment they were making, to foresee the period when these 
acjumuiated embarrassments would be removed. All thnt could be hoped, for many year', was that the Gov- 
ernment would be able to meet existing and ordinarily accruing demands upon its CAchcquer, without incurring 
further obligations. The patriots of that day, therefore, with every disposition to carry out their principles of 
freedom and equality to their legitimate results, thought it utterly impracticable to do so. They were induced 
to adjourn the question of Emancipation to a future day. They anxiously and hopefully looked forward to the 
period when they could remove what they denominated the "foul blot" of Slavery. This idea pervades the 
writings of all the great and good men of that time, as this volume abundantly demonstrates. 

It is worthy of remark, that at the Revolutionary era, Pennsylvania was a slaveholding State, and conse- 
quently the views of Dr. Franklin, Gouverneur Morris, and Mr W ilson, are properly classed with those ( f ash- 
ington. Jefferson, and Madison. New York was also a slave Siate at that period, but sbe was represented in the 
Feder^l Convention but a short time, except by Gen. Hamilton, and I have not gone out of my way to hunt up 
testimonies from that quarter. The views of Mr. Jay are known to have been strongly Anti-Slavery; and,althiugh 
Gen. Hamilton may have felt less on the subject, he was equally deeidec in his opposition to the institution. 

I have dilisrently sought fjr everything which Gen Washington wrote on the subject of Slavery. It will be 
seen that his judgment and his feelings were decidedly against the institution, whether viewed in the light 
of morality or political economy. And while he, on all occasions, expressed his strong disapprobation of it, 
h? saw and fjit the political necessity of shielding it from unconstitutional encroachment. Without this pro- 
tection from external and Federal interference, there could be no union among the States, no domestic peace, 
and, therefore, no security for the National Independence. 

Th ■ position of Washington on this question would form the true compromise at the present day. His 
humanity, hi< benevolence, his sense of ju-tice and expediency were all on the side of Emancipation, at the 
earliest practicable period; and yet, his fidelity to his political obligation- constrained him, while the institution 
should last, to maintain the State sovereignty which guarded it from illegal interference. 

The views of Mr Jefferson and Mr. Madison are entirely coincident with those of the Father of his Country 
on this question. The former has more strongly and pointedly given expression to his abho'rence of Slavery, 
but he concurred entirely in the neces-<iiy of constitutional inhilutions against foreign interference with it. It 
ia but justice to those great men, that their entire positions .-hould be known. 

The resolutions adopted at public meetings in Virginia, and by a general Convention at Williamshu g, 
show that the state of feeling among the people corresponded with that expressed by the eminent men whose 
writings I have quoted in this work. 

I regret that I have been compelled to place the materials of this compilation in the hands of the printer as 
rapidly as I have gathered them, thereby precluding any methodical arrangement of its parts. The Index, on 
the last page, however, will obvia.e any dilnculty which might arise from this circumstance. 

Washington, MarcA, 1858. DANIEL R. GOODLOE. 

[copyright secured.] 



The following extracts from the proceedings 
of public meetings in the Southern States, 
prior to the Declaration of Independence, show 
the state of feeling among the people at that 
period. It will be seen that Washington, 
Jefferson, and Madison, were little in advance 
of public opinion on this subject. 
Volume I. 

Frince George's County {Virginia) Resolutions. 

At a general meeting of the Freeholders of 
Prince George's county, Virginia, the follow- 
ing, among other resolutions, was unanimously 
adopted : 

Resolved, That the African trade is injurious 
to this colony, obstructs the population of it 
by freemen, prevents manufacturers and other 
useful emigrants from Europe from settling 
amongst us, and occasions an annual increase 
of the balance of trade against this colony.— 
Page 494. Theodorick Bland, 

CLerk of the Meeting. 

Culpepper County [Virginia) meeting; Henry 
Pendleton, Esq., Moderator. 
Resolved, That the importing slaves and 
convict servants is injurious to this colony, as 
it obstructs the population of it with freemen 
and useful manufacturers, and that we will 
not buy any such slave or convict servant 
hereafter to be imported. — Page 523. 

John Jameson, Clerk. 

Nansemond County [Virginia) Resolutions. 

Resolved, That the African trade is injurious 
to this colony, obstructs the population of it 
by freemen, prevents manufacturers and other 
useful emigrants from Europe from settling 
among us, and occasions an annual increase 
of the balance of trade against this colony. — 
Page 530. 

Lemuel Riddick and Benjamin Baker, 
Esqrs., sent as delegates to Williamsburg. 

Caroline County (Virginia) Resolutions. 
Resolved, That the African trade is injurious 
to this colony, obstructs our population by 

freemen, manufacturers, and others, M'ho 
would emigrate from Europe and settle here, 
and occasions an annual balance of trade 
against the country; and, therefore, that the 
puixhase of all imported slaves ought to be 
associated against. — Page 541. 

Edmund Pendleton and James Taylor, 

Surry County [Virginia) Resolutions. 
5th. Resolved, That, as the population of 
this colony, with freemen and useful manu- 
facturers, is greatly obstructed by the import- 
ation of slaves and convict servants, we wil. 
not purchase any such slaves or servants 
hereafter to be imported. — Page 593. 
■ Allen Cocke and Nicholas Faulcon, jr., 

Fairfax County [Virginia) meeting; George 
Washington, Esq., presiding ; Robert Harri- 
son, gentleman, Clerk. 

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this 
meeting, that, during our present difficulties 
and distress, no slaves ought to be imported 
into any of the British colonies on this conti- 
nent; and we take this opportunity of declar- 
ing our most earnest wishes to see an entire 
stop forever put to such a wicked, cruel, and 
unnatural trade. — Page 600. 

General Washington and others, delegates. 

Address to John Syme and Patrick Henry, by 
the Freeholders of Hanover County, [ Va.) 
The African trade for slaves we consider as 
most dangerous to virtue and the welfare of 
this country ; we, therefore, most earnestly 
wish to see it totally discouraged. — Page 616. 
John Syme and Patrick Henry, delegates. 

Princess Ann County [Virginia) Resolutions; 
Anthony Lavjson, Esq., 3Ioderator. 

Resolved, That our Burgesses be instructed 
to oppose the importation of slaves and con- 
victs, as injurious to this colony, by preA'ent- 
ing the population of it by freemen and useful 
manufacturers. — Page 641. 

Thomas Abbott, Clerk. 
Virginia Convention. 
At a very full meeting of delegates from tflie 
different counties in the Colony and Dominion 



of Virginia^ begun in "Williamsburg, the first 
day of August, in the year of our Lord 17*74, 
and continued, by several adjournments, to 
Saturday, the Gth of the same month, the fol- 
lowing association was unanimously resolved 
upon and agreed to : 

^5- -x- * * * * ^ 

2d. We will neither ourselves import, nor 
purchase any slave or slaves imported by any 
other person, after the first day of November 
next, either from Africa, the West Indies, or 
an}' other place. 

* ^ -x- -x- -5f -H- 

For the most trifling reasons, and sometimes 
for no conceivable reason at all, his Majesty 
has rejected laws of the most salutary tenden- 
cy. The abolition of domestic slavery is the 
greatest object of desire in those colonies 
where it was unhappily introduced in their 
infant state. But, previous to the enfranchise- 
ment of the slaves we have, it is necessary to 
exclude all further importations from Africa. 
Yet our repeated attempts to effect this by 
prohibitions, and by imposing duties which 
might amount to a prohibition, have been 
hitherto defeated by his Majesty's negative ; 
thus preferring the immediate advantages of a 
few African corsairs to the lasting interests of 
the American States, and to the rights of hu- 
man nature, deeply wounded by this infamous 
practice. Nay, the single interposition of an 
interested individual against a law, was scarcely 
ever known to fail of success, though in the 
opposite scale were placed the interests of a 
whole country. That this is so shameful an 
abuse of a power trusted with his Majesty for 
other purposes, as, if not reformed, would call 
for some legal restrictions. — Pages 636 to 696. 

North Carolina Convention. 
The Journal of the Proceedings of the first 

Provincial Convention of North Carolina, 

held at Newbern, on the 24th day of August, 

A. D. 1774. 

North Carolina, ss. At a general meeting 
of deputies of the inhabitants of this province, 
at Newbern, the twenty-fifth day of August, in 
the year of our Lord 1774, appeared for — 

Anson County — Mr. Samuel Spencer, Wm 
Thomas ; Beaufort — Roger Ormond, Thomas 
Respess, jr. ; Bladen — William Salter, Walter 
Gibson; Bute — William Person, Green Hill; 
Brunswick — Robert Howe ; Bertie — John 
Campbell; Craven — James Coor, Lemuel 
Hatch, Joseph Leech, Richard Cogdell; Car- 
teret — William Thompson; Currituck — Solo- 
mon Perkins, Nathan Poymer, Samuel Jarvis ; 
Chowan — Samuel Johnston, Thomas Oldham, 
Thomas Benbury, Thomas Jones, Thomas 
Hunter; Cumberland — Farquard Campbell, 
Thos. Rutherford; Chatham — none; Dobbs — 
Richard Caswell, William McKennie, George 
Miller, Simon Bright; Duplin — Thomas Gray, 
Thomas Hicks, James Kenan, William Dick- 
son; Edgecomb — none; Granville — Thomas 
Person, Memucan Hunt; Guilford — none; 
Hyde — Rothias Latham, Samuel Smith; Hert- 
ford — none; Plalifax — Nicholas Long, Willie 
Jones; Johnston — Needham Bryan, Benjamin 

Williams ; Mecklenburg — Benjamin Patton ; 
Martin — Edmund Smythwick ; New Hanover — 
John Ashe, William Hooper; Northampton — 
Allen Jones; Orange — Thomas Hart; Onslow — 
Wm. Cray; Perquimans — John Harvey, Ben- 
jamin Harvey, Andrew Knox, Thomas Harvey, 
Jno. Whedbee, jr.; Pasquotank — Joseph Jones, 
Edward Everigin, Joseph Reading; Pitt — John 
Simpson, Edward Salter; Rowan — Wm. Ken- 
non, Moses WinsloAV, Samuel Young; Surry — 
none ; Tryon — David Jenkins, Robert Alexan- 
der ; Tyrrel — Joseph Spruill, Jeremiah Eraser; 
Wake — none; Newbern — Abner Nash, Isaac 
Edwards; Edenton — Joseph Hewes; Wilming- 
ton — Francis Clayton ; for the town of Bath — 
Wm. Brown; Halifax, John Geddy; Hillsbo- 
rough — none; Salisbury — none; Brunswick — 
none ; Campbelton — none. 

The deputies then proceeded to make choice 
of a moderator, when Colonel John Harvey 
was unanimously chosen, and Mr. Andrew 
Knox appointed clerk. 

* * ¥: -K- * 

Resolved, That we will not import any slave 
or slaves, or purchase any slave or slaves im- 
ported or brought into this province by others, 
from any part of the world, after the first day 
of November next. — Page 735. 

Continental Congress, Philadelphia, October, 20, 

We do for ourselves, and the inhabitants of 
the several colonies whom we represent, firmly 
agTee and associate under the sacred ties of 
Virtue, Honor, and Love of our Country, as 
follows : 

■K- * ^ * -Jfr 4f -X- 

2. That we will neither import nor purchase 
any slave imported after the first day of De- 
cember next; after which time, we will wholly 
discontinue the slave trade, and will neither 
be concerned in it ourselves, nor will we hire 
our vessels, nor sell our commodities or manu- 
factures, to those who are concerned in it. — 
Page 914. 

11. That a committee be chosen in every 
county, city, and town, by those who are 
qualified to vote for Representatives in the 
Legislature, whose business it shall be atten- 
tively to observe the conduct of all persons 
touching this association; and when it shall 
be made to appear to the satisfaction of a ma- 
jority of any such committee that any person 
within the limits of their appointment has 
violated this Association, that such majority 
do forthwith cause the truth of the case to be 
published in the Gazette, to the end that all 
such foes to the rights of British America may 
be publicly known, and universally contemned 
as the enemies of American liberty; and 
thenceforth we respectively will break off all 
dealings with him or her. — Page 915. 

14. And we do further agree and resolve, 
that we will have no trade, commerce, deal- 
ings, or intercourse whatsoever, with any 
colony or province in North America, which 
shall not accede to, or which shall hereafter 
violate this Association, but Avill hold them as 



unworthy of the rights of freemen, and as in- 
imical to the liberties of this country. 

% ^ * ^ * ^ * 

The foregoing Association, being determined 
upon by the Congress, was ordered to be sub- 
scribed by the several members thereof; and 
thereupon we have hereunto set our respective 
names accordingly. 
Jn Congress^ Philadelphia^ October 20, 1774. 

Peyton Randolph, President. 

New Hampshire. — John Sullivan, Nathaniel 

Massachusetts Bay. — Thomas Gushing, Sam- 
uel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Payne. 

Rhode Island. — Stephen Hopkins, Samuel 

Connecticut. — Eliphalet Dyer, Roger Sher- 
man, Silas Deane. 

New York. — Isaac Low, John Alsop, John 
Jay, James Duane, Philip Livingston, William 
Floyd, Henry Wisner, Simon Boerum. 

New Jersey. — James Kiney, William Living- 
ston, Stephen Crane, Richard Smith, John De 

Pennsylvania. — Joseph Galloway, John Dick- 
inson, Charles Humphreys, Thomas Mifflin, 
Edward Biddle, John Morton, George Ross. 

The Lower Counties^ New Castle^ ^'C. — CiBsar 
Rodney, Thomas McKean, George Read. 

Maryland. — Matthew Tilghman, Thomas 
Johnson, jr., William Paca, Samuel Chase. 

Virginia. — Richard Henry Lee, George 
Washington, Patrick Henry, jr., Richard 
Bland, Benjamin Harrison, Edmund Pendleton. 

North Carolina. — William Hooper, Joseph 
Hewes, Richard Caswell. 

Soiith Carolina. — Henry Middleton, Thomas 
Lynch, Christopher Gadsden, John Rutledge, 
Edward Rutledge. 

Ordered., That this Association be committed 
to the press, and that one hundred and twenty 
copies be struck off. 

Continental Congress^ Friday, October 21, 1774. 

The address to the people of Great Britain 
being brought in, and the amendments direct- 
ed being made, the same was approved, and is 
as follows: 

To the People of Great Britain, from the Dele- 
gates appointed by the several English Colo- 
nies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, 
Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, 
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, the Lower Counties on Deleware, 
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and 
South Carolina, to consider of their griev- 
ances in General Congress, at Philadelphia, 
September 5th, 1774. 

Friends and Fellow Citizens: When a nation, 
led to greatness by the hand of Liberty, and 
possessed of all the glory that heroism, mu- 
nificence, and humanity, can bestow, descends 
to the ungrateful task of forging chains for 
her friends and children, and, instead of giving 
support to Freedom, turns advocate for Sla- 
very and Oppression, there is reason to suspect 
she has either ceased to be virtuous, or been 
extremely negligent in the appointment of her 
rulers. — Pages 914 to 917. 

Darien (Georgia) Resolutions. 
In the Darien Committee, Thursday, January 
12, 1775. 

5. To show the world that we are not influ- 
enced by any contracted or interested motives, 
but a general philanthropy for all mankind, 
of whatever climate, language, or complexion, 
we hereby declare our disapprobation and ab- 
horrence of the unnatural practice of slavery 
in America, (however the uncultivated state 
of our country or other specious arguments 
ma}' plead for it,) a practice founded in injus- 
tice and cruelty, and highly dangerous to our 
liberties, (as well as lives,) debasing part of 
our feilow-creatures below men, and corrupt- 
ing the virtue and morals of the rest; and is 
laying the basis of that liberty we contend 
for, (and which we pray the Almighty to con- 
tinue to the latest posterity,) upon a very 
wrong foundation: We. therefore, resolve at 
all times to use our utmost endeavors for the 
manumission of our slaves in this colony, 
upon the most safe and equitable footing for 
the masters and themselves. — Page 1136. 
Association entered into by forty-five of the 
deputies assembled in Provincial Congress, 
at Savannah, in Georgia, on the 18th of 
January, 1775, and by them subscribed on 
the 23d, when they chose Noble Wimberly 
Jones, Archibald Bullock, and John Hous- 
ton, Esquires, delegates to represent that 
Colony in the Continental Congress, to be 
held in May next. 

2d. That we will neither import or purchase 
any slaves imported from Africa, or elsewhere, 
after the 15th day of March next. — Page 1158. 

•X- -K- -JS- * * * 

The foregoing Association, being determined 
upon by the Congress, was ordered to be sub- 
scribed by the several members thereof; and, 
thereupon, we have hereunto set our respective 
names accordingly. 

In Congress, Savannah, Georgia, Jan. 23, 1775. 
John Glen, Chairman. 

Noble W. Jones, Samuel Farley, Ambrose 
Wright, Peter Tondee, Thomas Lee, William 
Young, JohnMcClure, Archibald Bullock, John 
Houston, Joseph Habersham, George Houston, 
Edward Telfair, William Gibbons, Peter Bard, 
D. Zubly, jr., James De Veaux, Joseph Clay, 
Philip Box, William Owen, George Walton, 
John Stirk, Isaac Young, Robert Rae, Robert 
Hamilton, Edmund Bugg, William Glascock, 
John Germany, L. Marbury, Hugh Middleton, 
Samuel Germany, John Wereat, Jonathan 
Cochran, George Mcintosh, Raymond Demeer, 
William Jones, James Cochran, Joseph Gib- 
bons, Francis H. Harris, Samuel Elbert, Henry 
Jones, William Lord, John Mann, David Lewis, 
George Wyche. — Page 1160. 


Washington' s Will. 
In the name of God, Amen. 
I, George Washington, of Mount Vernon, a 
citizen of the United States, and lately Presi- 



dent of the same, do make, ordain, and de- 
clare, this instrument, which is written with 
my own hand, and every page thereof sub- 
scribed with my name,* to be my last will and 
testament, revoking all others. 

Item. — Upon the decease of my wife, it is 
my will and desire that all the slaves whom .1 
hold in my own right., shall receive their free- 
dom. To emancipate them during her life, 
would, though earnestly wished by me, be at- 
tended with such insuperable ditiiculties, on 
account of their intermixture by marriage with 
the dower negroes, as to excite the most pain- 
ful sensations, if not disagreeable consequences 
to the latter, while both descriptions are in 
the occupancy of the same proprietor; it not 
being in my power, under the tenure by which 
the dower negroes are held, to manumit them. 
And whereas, among those who will receive 
freedom according to this devise, there may 
be some, who, from old age or bodily infirm- 
ities, and others, who, on account of their in- 
fancy, will be unable to support themselves, 
it is my will and desire, that all who come 
under the first and second description, shall 
be comfortably clothed and fv?d by my heirs 
while they live ; and that such of the latter 
description as have no parents living, or if 
living, are unable or unwilling to provide for 
them, shall be bound by the Court until they 
shall arrive at the age of twenty-five years ; 
and in cases where no record can be produced 
whereby their ages can be ascertained, the 
Judgment of the Court, upon its own view of 
the subject, shall be adequate and final. The 
negroes thus bound, are (by their masters or 
mistresses) to be taught to read and write, 
and to be brought up to some useful occupa- 
tion agreeably to the laws of the Common- 
wealth of Virginia, providing for the support 
of orphan and other poor children. And I do 
hereby expressly forbid the sale or transporta- 
tion out of the said Commonwealth, of any 
slave I may die possessed of, under any pre- 
tence whatsoever. And I do, moreover, most 
pointedly and most solemnly enjoin it upon 
my executors hereafter named, or the survivors 
of them, to see that this clause respecting 
slaves, and every part thereof, be religiously 
fulfilled at the epoch at which it is directed 
to take place, without evasion, neglect, or de- 
lay, after the crops which may then be on the 
ground are harvested, particularly as it respects 
the aged and infirm ; seeing that a regular and 
permanent fund be established for their sup- 
port, as long as there are subjects requiring 
it; not trusting to the uncertain provision to 
be made by individuals. And to my mulatto 
man, William, calling himseK William Lee, I 
give immediate freedom ; or, if he should pre- 
fer it, (on account of the accidents which have 
befallen him, and which have rendered him 
incapable of walking, or of any active employ- 
ment,) to remain in the situation he now is, 
it shall be optional in him to do so; in either 

the orin:inal '^nonuscript. Oeorjre Wabliiugtou's 
name was wiiuea at the Louoin of every page. 

case, however, I allow him an annuity of thirty 
dollars, during his natural life, which shall be 
independent of the victuals and clothes he has 
been accustomed to receive, if he chooses the 
last alternative ; but in full with his freedom, 
if he prefers the first. And this I give him, as 
a testimony of my sense of his attachment to 
me, and for his faithful services during the 
revolutionary war. — Vol. i,pp. 569, 5T0. 

Extract of a letter to the President of Congress, 
dated Cambridge, ^Ist December, 1'775. 
It has been represented to me that the free 
negroes who have served in this army are very 
much dissatisfied at being discarded. As it is 
to be apprehended that they may ask employ- 
ment in the ministerial army, I have presumed 
to depart from the resolution respecting them, 
and have given license for their being enlisted. 
If this is disapproved of by Congress, I will 
put a stop to it.* 

Extract of a letter to Henry Laurens {of South 
Carolina) in Congress. 

MiDDLEBROOK, 20th March, 1779. 
The policy of our arming slaves is, in my 
opinion, a moot point, unless the enemy set 
the example. J For, should we begin to form 
battalions of them, I have not the smallest 
doubt, if the war is to be prosecuted, of their 
following us in it, and justifying the measure 
upon our own ground. The contest must then 
be, who can arm fastest. And where are our 
arms? Besides, I am not clear, that a dis- 
crimination will not render slavery more irk- 
some to those who remain in it. Most of the 
good and evil things in this life are judged of 
by comparison; and I fear a comparison in 
this case will be productive of much discon- 
tent in those who are held in servitude. But 
as this is a subject that has never employed 
much of my thoughts, these are no more than 
the first crude ideas that have struck me upon 
the occasion. 

To Lt. Col. John Laurens [of South Carolina.) 

Headquarters, 10th July, 1782. 
My Dear Sir: The post brought me your 
letter on the 19th of May. I must confess that 
I am not at all astonished at the failure of 

* At a meeting of the General Officers, previously to 
the arrival of the committee from Congresf in camp, 
it was unanimously resolved that it was not experii- 
ent to enlist slaves in the new army, and, by a large 
majority, negroes of every descripiii.n were fxcluded 
from enlistment. When the subject was referred to 
the committee in conterence, this decision was con- 
firmed. In regard to free negroes, however, the resolve 
was not adhered to, and probably for the reason here 
mentioned by General Washington. Many black sol- 
diers were in the service during all stages of the 
wdT.— Vol. iii,P2>. 218, 219. 

t Mr. Laurens had written, Alarch 16th : " Our affairs 
in ttie Southern department are more favorable than 
we had considered them a few days ago : nevertheless, 
the country is greatly distressed, and will be more so, 
unless further reinforcements are sent to its r< lief. 
Had we arms for thrr e thousand such b ack men as I 
could select in Carolina, I should have no doubt of 
success in driving the British out of Georgia, and sub- 
duiusr East Florida, before the end of July.'"— 7o/. v», 
p. 204. 



your plan. The spirit of freedom, which at the 
commencement of this contest wouhl gladlj 
have sacrificed everything to the attainment 
of its object, has long since subsided, and 
every selfish passion has taken its place. It 
is not the public, but private interest which 
influences the generality^f mankind; nor can 
the Americans any longer boast an exception. 
Under these circumstances, it would rather 
have been surprising if you had succeeded; 
nor will you, I fear, have better success in 

To the Marquis de Lafayette. — bth April, 1783. 

The scheme, my dear Marquis, which you 
propose as a precedent, to encourage the 
emancipation of the black people in this coun- 
try from the state of bondage in which they are 
held, is a striking evidence of the benevolence 
of your heart. I shall be happy to join you in 
so laudable a work ; but will defer going into 
a detail of the business till I have the pleasure 
of seeing you. — Vol. viii, pp. 414, 415. 

To Robert 3Iorris. 
Mount Vernon, 12th April, 1786. 

Dear Sir: I give you the trouble of this 
letter at the instance of Mr. Dalby, of Alexan- 
dria, who is called to Philadelphia, to attend 
what he conceives to be a vexatious lawsuit, 
respecting a slave of his, whom a society of 
Quakers in the city, formed for such purposes, 
have attempted to liberate. The merits of this 
case will, no doubt, appear upon trial. From 
Mr. Dalby's state of the matter, it should seem, 
that this society is not only acting repugnant- 
ly to justice, so far as its conduct concerns 
strangers, but in my opinion impoliticly with 
respect to the State, the city in particular, 
without being able, except in acts of tyranny 
and oppression, to accomplish its own ends. 
He says the conduct of this society is not 
sanctioned by law. Had the case been other- 
wise, whatever m}^ opinion of the law might 
have been, my respect for the policy of the 
State would on this occasion have appeared 
in my silence; because against the penalties 
of promulgated laws one may guard, but there 
is no avoiding the snares of individuals, or of 
private societies. If the practice of this so- 
ciety, of which Mr. Dalby speaks, is not dis- 
countenanced, none of those whose misfortune 
it is to have slaves as attendants, will visit the 
city, if they can possibly avoid it; because, by 
so doing, they hazard their property, or they 
must be at the expense (and this will not al- 

*The p!an here mentioned, which Colonel Laurens 
was exiremely anx ous lo carry into effect, was to 
raise a reLiimeia of tilack levies in South Carolina. 
He lirought the subject before the Legislatme of the 
!<iate. and pursued it with all liis zeal a"d influence, 
but ihe mrasure whs not approved. "It was some 
consolation, however," >aid he. "to perceive thai truth 
and philo opii> ijainefi some ground, the suffrages 
in favor of the measuie being twice as numerous as 
on a former occu?ijii. Some hopes have lately been 
given me from G orgia; hut I tear, wueii the question 
i< put, we *ha]! be outvoted tlitre wiih as much dis- 
parity as we have been lu this country."— Vb/.rm. 


ways succeed) of providing servants of another 

I hope it will not be conceived, from these 
observations, that it is my wish to hold the 
unhappy people, who are the subject of this 
letter, in slavery. I can only say, that there 
is not a man living who wishes more sincerely 
than I do, to see a plan adopted for the aboli- 
tion of it. But there is only one proper and 
effectual mode by which it can be accomplish- 
ed, and that is by legislative authority; and 
this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall never 
be wanting.* But when slaves, who are hap- 
py and contented with their present masters, 
are tampered with, and seduced to leave them ; 
when masters are taken unawares by these 
practices ; when a conduct of this kind begets 
discontent on one side and resentment on the 
other ; and when it happens to fall on a man 
whose purse will not measure with that of the 
society, and he loses his property for want of 
means to defend it ; it is oppression in such a 
case, and not humanity in any, because it in- 
troduces more evils than it can cure. 

I will make no apology for writing to you 
on this subject; for, if Mr. Dalby has not mis- 
conceived the matter, an evil exists, which re- 
quires a remedy ; if he has, my intentions have 
been good, though I may have been too pre- 
cipitate in this address. Mrs. Washington 
joins me in every good and kind wish for Mrs. 
Morris and your family, and I am. — Vol. iz,pp. 

The benevolence of your heart, my dear 
Marquis, is so conspicuous on all occasions, 
that I never wonder at any fresh proofs of it ; 
but your late purchase of an estate in the col- 
ony of Cayenne, with a view of emancipating 
the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof 
of your humanity.f Would to God a like 
spirit might diffuse itself generally into the 
minds of the people of this countr}^! But I 
despair of seeing it. Some petitions were pre- 
sented to the Assembly, at its last session, for 
the abolition of slavery ; but they could scarce- 
ly obtain a reading. To set the slaves afloat 
at once would, I really believe, be productive 
of much inconvenience and mischief; but by 
degrees it certainly might, and assuredly ought 
to be effected; and that, too, by legislative au- 
thority.— i>. 163, 164. 

To Charles Pinckney, Governor of South Caro- 
lina.— March 17, 1792. S^Extract.l 
I must say, that I lament the decision of 
your Legislature upon the question of import- 

* In writing to Mr. John F. Mercer on this subject. 
General Washington said: *'l never mean, unless 
fome particular circumstance should compel me to 
It, to possess another slave by purchase, it i)eing 
among my first wishes to see some plan adopted, by 
which slavery in this country may be abolished by 
law." — September 9, 17S6. 

tin a remarkab'e and very in'ere^ting lett-r, writ- 
ten by Lafayette in the prison of Magdeburg, he, said: 
"I know not what disposition has bf-en made nf my 
plantation at Cayenne; but I hope Madame d ■ Lafay- 
et'e will take care, thai the negroes who cuiiva e it 
shall preserve their liberty."— iSpariks s Lfe of Gouver" 
ueur Morns, vol. i, p. 4l0. 



ing slaves after March, 1793. I was in hopes 
that motives of policy as well as other good 
reasons, supported by the direful effects of sla- 
very, which at this moment are presented, 
would have operated to produce a total prohi- 
bition of the importation of slaves, whenever 
the question came to be agitated in any State 
that might be interested in the measure.* 

This extract from a letter of Washington 
was first published by Mr. Sumner, in his able 
constitutional argument on Slavery, delivered 
August 26th, 1852. Mr. Sumner, in introdu- 
cing it, said : 

While President of the United States, at the 
close of his administration, Washington sought 
to recover a slave, who had fled to New Hamp- 
shire. His autograi^h letter to Mr. Whipple, 
the Collect^ir of Portsmouth, dated at Philadel- 
phia, 28th November, 1796, w'hich I now hold 
in my hand, and which has never before seen 
the light, after describing the fugitive, and 
particularly expressing the desire of "her mis- 
tress," Mrs. Washington, for her return, em- 
ploys the following decisive language: 

"I do not mean, however, by this request, 
' that such violent measures should be used 


* POSED CITIZENS. Rather than either of these 
' should happen, I would forego her services 
' altogether; and the example also, which is 
' of infinite importance. 

" George Washington." 

Mr. Whipple, in his reply, dated at Ports- 
mouth, December 22, 1196, an autograph copy 
of which I have, recognises the rule of Wash- 
ington : 

"I will now, sir, agreeably to your desire, 
' send her to Alexandria, if it he practicable 
' without the consequences which you except — that 
' of exciiing a riot or a mob, or creating uneasy 
' sensations in the minds of tvcll-disposed persons. 
' The first cannot be calculated beforehand; 
' it will be governed by the popular opinion 
' of the moment, or the circumstances that 
' may arise in the transaction. The latter 
' may be sought into and judged of by con- 
' versing with such persons without discover- 
' ing the occasion. So for as I have had op- 
' portunity, I perceive that difFerent sentiments 
' are entertained on this subject." 

The fugitive never was returned, but lived 
in freedom to a good old age, down to a very 
recent period, a monument of the just forbear- 
ance of him whom we aptly call the Father of 
bis Country. 

* From Governor Pinckney's letter : Our Legisla- 
ture. ainoiii( other qut?stiori.«, ajrilated the one respef t- 
hii; the (uture iinporiation o^" slaves, a* the prohibition 
expires in M^ircli. 1793 Great pniiis were used to 
eff-i' t a total prohibition; hut upon the question being 
taken in the S'ma'e, it was lost by po dec'ided a ma- 
jority, that 1 think we may cnnsid>;r it as ceriain that 
this State will, after March. 175*3, import as largely as 
they ever did It is a deci>ion, upon the policy of 
wluch I confess I have my doubts." 


An Address to the Public, from the Pennsyl- 
vania Society for promoting the abolition 
of Slavery, and the relief of free negroes 
unlawfully held in bondage. 
It is with peculiar satisfaction we assure 
the friends of humanity, that, in prosecuting 
the design of our association, our endeavors 
have proved successful, far beyond the most 
sanguine expectations. 

Encouraged by this success, and by the daily 
progress of that luminous and benign spirit of 
liberty which is diffusing itself throughout the 
world, and humbly hoping for the continuance 
of the divine blessing on our labors, we have 
ventured to make an important addition to 
our original plan, and do therefore earnestly 
solicit the support and assistance of all who 
can feel the tender emotions of sympathy and 
compassion, or relish the exalted pleasure of 

Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of 
human nature, that its very extirpation, if not 
performed with solicitous care, may sometimes 
open a source of serious evils. 

The unhappy man, who has long been treat- 
ed as a brute animal, too frequently sinks be- 
neath the common standard of the human 
species. The galling chains that bind his 
body, do also fetter his intellectual faculties, 
and impair the social affections of his heart. 
Accustomed to move like a mere machine, by 
the will of a master, reflection is suspended; 
he has not the power of choice, and reason 
and conscience have but little influence over 
his conduct, because he is chiefly governed 
by the passion of fear. He is poor and friend- 
less, perhaps worn out by extreme labor, age, 
and disease. 

Under such circumstances, freedom may 
often prove a misfortune to himself, and pre- 
judicial to society. 

Attention to emancipated black people, it is 
therefore to be hoped, Avill become a branch 
of our national police; but as far as we con- 
tribute to promote this emancipation, so far 
that attention is evidently a serious duty in- 
cumbent on us, and which we mean to dis- 
charge to the best of our judgment and abili- 

To instruct, to advise, to qualify those who 
have been restored to freedom, for the exer- 
cise and enjoyment of civil liberty, to promote 
in them habits of industry, to furnish them 
with employments suited to their age, sex, 
talents, and other circumstances, and to pro- 
cure their children an education calculated for 
their future situation in life — these are the 
great outlines of the annexed plan, which we 
have adopted, and which we conceive will es- 
sentially promote the public good, and the 
happiness of these our hitherto too much neg- 
lected fellow-creatures. 

A plan so extensive cannot be carried into 
execution without considerable pecuniary re- 
sources, beyond the present ordinary funds of 
the society. We hope much from the gene- 
rosity of enlightened and benevolent freemen. 



and will gratefully receive any donations or 
subscriptions for this purpose, which may be 
made to oui Treasurer, James Starr, or to 
James Pemberton, Chairman of our Committee 
of Correspondence. 

Signed, by order of the Society, 

B. FRAiiKLiN, President. 

Philadelphia, November 9, 1789. 

On the Slave Trade. 
Dr. Franklin's name, as President of the 
Abolition Society, was signed to the memorial 
presented to the House of Representatives of 
the United States, on the 12th of February, 
1789, praying them to exert the full extent of 
power vested in them by the Constitution, in 
discouraging the traffic of the human species. 
This was his last public act. In the debates 
to which this memorial gave rise, several at- 
tempts were made to justify the trade. In the 
Federal Gazette of March 25th, 1790, there ap- 
peared an essay, signed "Historicus," written 
•by Dr. Franklin, in which he communicated a 
speech, said to have been delivered in the Di- 
van of Algiers, in 1687, in opposition to the 
prayer of the petition of a sect called Erika, or 
Purists, for the aboliton of piracy and slavery. 
This pretended African speech was an excel- 
lent parody of one delivered by Mr. Jackson, 
of Georgia. All the arguments urged in favor 
of negro slavery are applied with equal force 
to justify the plundering and enslaving of 
Europeans. It affords, at the same time, a 
demonstration of the futility of the arguments 
in defence of the slave trade, and of the 
strength of mind and ingenuity of the author, 
at his advanced period in life. It furnishes, 
too, a no less convincing proof of his power 
of imitating the style of other times and na- 
tions, than his celebrated Parable against Per- 
secution. And as the latter led many persons 
to search the Scriptures with a view to find it, 
so the former caused many persons to search 
the bookstores and libraries for the work from 
which it was said to be extracted. — Dr. Stitber. 

March 23, 1790.* 
To the Editor of the Federal Gazette: 

Sir: Reading last night in your excellent 
paper the speech of Mr. Jackson in Congress 
against their meddling v»dth the affair of sla- 
very, or attempting to mend the condition of 
the slaves, it put me in mind of a similar one 
made about one hundred years since, by Sidi 
Mehemet Ibrahim, a member of the Divan of 
Algiers, which may be seen in Martin's ac- 
count of his consulship, anno 1687. It was 
against granting the petition of the sect called 
Erika^ or Purists, who prayed for the abolition 
of piracy and slavery, as being unjust. Mr. 
Jackson does not quote it; perhaps he has not 
seen it. If, therefore, some of its reasonings 
are to be found in his eloquent speech, it may 
only show that men's interests and intellects 
operate and are operated on with surprising 

* riiis paper is da ed only twenty- four days before 
the HiJihor s death, which happened on the i7ih of 
April lol owuig. 

similarity in all countries and climates, when- 
ever they are under similar circumstances. 
The African's speech, as translated, is as fol- 
lows : 

'■'■Allah Bismillah, ^c., God is great, and Ma- 
hornet is Ms Prophet. 

"Have these Erika considered the conse- 
' quences of granting their petition? If we 
' cease our cruises against the Christians, how 
' shall we be furnished with the commodities 
'■ their countries produce, and which are so 
' necessary for us? If we forbear to make 
' slaves of their people, who, in this hot cli- 
' mate, are to cultivate our lands? Who are 
' to perform the common labors of our city 
' and in our families? Must we not, then, be 
' our own slaves? And is there not more 
' compassion and more favor due to us, as 
' Mussulmen, than to these Christian dogs? 
' We have now about fifty thousand slaves in 
' and near Algiers. This number, if not kept 
' up by fresh supplies, will soon diminish, and 
'■ be gradually annihilated. If we then cease 
' taking and plundering the -Infidel ships, and 
' making slaves of the seamen and passengers, 
' our lands will become of no value, for want 
' of cultivation ; and the rents of houses in the 
' city will sink one-half; and the revenue of 
' Government, arising from its share of prizes, 
' be totally destroyed! And for what? To 
' gratify the whims of a whimsical sect, who 
' would have us not only forbear making more 
' slaves, but even manumit those we have. 

" But who is to indemnify their masters for 
'the loss? Will the State do it? Is our 
' Treasury sufficient ? Will the Erika do it ? 
' Can they do it ? Or would they, to do what 
' they think justice to the slaves, do a greater 
' injustice to the owners? And if we set our 
' slaves free, what is to be done with them ? 
'■ Few of them will return to their countries ; 
' they know too well the greater hardships 
' they must there be subject to ; they will not 
' embrace our holy religion ; they will not 
' adopt our manners ; our people will not pol- 
' lute themselves by intermarrying with them. 
' Must we maintain them as beggars in our 
' streets, or suffer our properties to be the prey 
' of their pillage? For men accustomed to 
' slavery will not work for a livelihood, when 
' not compelled. And what is there so pitia- 
' ble in their present condition ? Were they 
' not slaves in their own countries ? 

" Are not Spain, Portugal, France, and the 
' Italian States, governed by despots, who hold 
' all their subjects in slavery, without excep- 
' tion ? Even England treats its sailors as 
' slaves, for they are, whenever the Govern- 
' ment pleases, seized, and confined in ships 
' of war, condemned not only to work, but to 
' fight, for small wages, or a mere subsistence, 
' not better than our slaves are allowed by us. 
' Is their condition, then, made worse by fall- 
' ing into our hands ? No ; they have only 
' exchanged one slavery for another, and, I 
' may say, a better — for here they are brought 
' into a land where the sun of Islamism gives 
' forth its light, and shines in full splendor, 



' and they have an opportunity of making 

* themselves acquainted Avith the true doc- 

* trine, and thereby saving their immortal 
' souls. Those who remain at home have not 
' that happiness. Sending the slaves home, 

* then, would be sending them out of light 
' into darkness. 

I repeat the question, What is to be done 

* with them? I have heard it suggested that 
' they may be i^lanted in the wilderness, where 

* there is plenty of land for them to subsist on, 

* and where they may flourish as a free State; 

* but they are, I doubt, too little disposed to 
' labor without compulsion, as well as too ig- 
' norant to establish a good Government ; dnd 
' the wild Arabs would soon molest and de- 
' stroy or again enslave them. AVhile serving 
' us, we take care to provide them with every- 
' thing, and they are treated with humanity. 
' The laborers in their own country are, as I 
' am well informed, worse fed, lodged, and 
' clothed. The condition of most of them is, 
' therefore, already mended, and requires no 
' further improvement. Here their lives are in 
' safety. They are not liable to be impressed 
' for soldiers, and forced to cut one another's 
' Christian throats, as in the wars of their own 
' countries. If some of the religious-mad 
' bigots, who now tease us with their silly pe- 
' titions, have in a fit of blind zeal freed their 
' slaves, it was not generosity, it was not hu- 
' manity, that moved them to the action — it 
' was from a conscious burden of a load of 
' sins, and a hope, from the supposed merits 

* of so good a work, to be excused from dam- 

* nation. 

" How grossly are they mistaken to suppose 
' slavery to be disallowed by the Alcoran ! 
' Are not the two precepts, to quote no more, 
' '■JIasters, treat your slaves with kindness ; slaves, 
' serve your masters with cheerfulness and fidelity 
' clear proofs to the contrary? Nor can the 

* plundering of Infidels be in that sacred book 
' forbidden, since it is well known from it, that 
' God has given the world, and all that it con- 
' tains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to 
' enjoy it of right as fast as they conquer it. 
' Let us, then, hear no more of this detestable 
' proposition, the manumission of Christian 
' slaves, the adoption of which would, by de- 
' predating our lands and houses, and thereby 
' depriving so many good citizens of their 
' properties, create universal discontent, and 
' provoke insurrections, to the endangering 
' of Government, and producing general con- 
' fusion. I have, therefore, no doubt but this 
' wise council will prefer the comfort and hap- 
' piness of a whole nation of true believers, to 
' the whim of a few Erika, and dismiss their 
' petition." 

The result was, as Martin tells us, that the 
Divan came to this resolution : "The doctrine, 
' that plundering and enslaving the Christians 
' is unjust, is, at best, problematical; but that 
' it is the interest of this State to continue the 
' practice, is clear; therefore, let the petition 

* be rejected." And it was rejected accord- 

And since like motives are apt to produce 
in the minds of men like opinions and resolu- 
tions, may we not, Mr. Brown, venture to pre- 
dict, from this account, that the petitions to 
the Parliament of England for abolishing the 
slave trade, to say nothing of other Legisla- 
tures, and the debates upon them, will have a 
similar conclusion? 

I am, sir, your constant reader and humble 
servant, Historicus. 

From Mr. Jefferson's Minutes of Debates in IT^B, 

on the Declaration of Independence^ published 

with the Madison Papers. 

The clause, too, reprobating the enslaving 
the inhabitants of Africa was struck out, in 
compliance to South Carolina and Georgia, 
who had never attempted to restrain the im- 
portation of slaves, and who, on the contrary, 
still wished to continue it. Our Northern 
brethren, also, I believe, felt a little tender 
under those censures ; for, though their people 
have very few slaves themselves, yet they had 
been pretty considerable carriers of them to 
others. — Page 18. 

From Mr. Jefferson's Original Draft of the Dec- 
laration of Independence. 
He has waged cruel war against human na- 
ture itself, violating its most sacred rights of 
life and liberty, in the persons of a distant 
people who never offended him; captivating 
and carrying them into slavery in another 
hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in 
their transportation thither. This piratical 
warfare, the opprobrium of Infidel Powers, is 
the warfare of the Christian King of Great 
Britain. Determined to keep open a market 
where men should be bought and sold, he has 
prostituted his negative for suppressing every 
legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this 
execrable commerce ; and that this assemblage 
of horrors might want no fact of distinguished 
dye, he is now exciting those very people to 
rise in arms among us, and to purchase that 
liberty of which he has deprived them, by 
murdering the people on whom he also ob- 
truded them — thus paying ofi" former crimes 
committed against the liberties of one jieople, 
with crimes which he urges them to commit 
against the lives of another. — Page 24. 
BIr. Jefferson! s Report of Debate on Articles of 
Confederation. 1776. 

"Article XL All charges of war, and all 
' other expenses that shall be incurred for the 
' common defence or general welfare, and al- 
' lowed by the United States assembled, shall 
' be defrayed out of a common treasury, which 
' shall be supplied by the several colonies in 
' proportion to the number of inhabitants, of 
' every age, sex, and quality, (except Indians 
' not paying taxes,) in each colony — a true 
' account of which, distinguishing the white 
' inhabitants, shall be triennially taken and 
' transmitted to the Assembly of the United 
' States." 



Mr. Chase moved that the quotas should be 
paid, not by the number of inhabitants of every 
condition, but by that of the "white inhabit- 
ants." He admitted that taxation should be 
always in proportion to property; that this 
was, in theory, the true rule; but that, from 
a variety of difficulties, it was a rule which 
could never be adopted in practice. The value 
of the property in every State could never be 
estimated jusily and equally. Some other 
measure for the wealth of the State must 
therefore be devised — some standard referred 
to — which would be more simple. He con- 
sidered the number 6f inhabitants as a tolera- 
bly good criterion of property, and that this 
might always be obtained. He therefore 
thought it the best mode we could adopt, with 
one exception ^.i-ly. He observed that negroes 
are property, and, as such, cannot be dis- 
tinguished from the lands or personalities held 
in those States where there are few slaves; 
that the surplus of profit which a Northern 
farmer is able to lay by, he invests in cattle, 
horses, &c. ; whereas a Southern farmer lays 
out that same surplus in slaves. There is no 
more reason, therefore, for taxing the Southern 
States on the farmer's head and on his slave's 
head, than the Northern ones on their farmers' 
heads and the heads of their cattle; that the 
method proposed would therefore tax the 
Southern States according to their numbers 
and their wealth, conjunctly, while the North- 
ern would be taxed on numbers only; that 
negroes, in fact, should not be considered as 
members of the State, more than cattle, and 
that they have no more interest in it. 

Mr. John Adams observed, that the num- 
bers of people were taken by this article as an 
index of the wealth of the State, and not as 
subjects of taxation; that, as to this matter, 
it was of no consequence by what name you 
called your people — whether by that of free- 
men or of slaves ; that in some countries the 
laboring poor were called freemen, in others 
they were called slaves; but that the diflFer- 
ence as to the State was imaginary only. 
What matters it, whether a landlord, employ- 
ing ten laborers on his farm, gives them an- 
nually as much money as will buy them the 
necessaries of life, or gives them those neces- 
saries at short hand? The ten laborers add 
as much wealth annually to the State — in- 
crease its exports as much — in the one case as 
the other. Certainly, five hundred freemen 
produce no more profits — no greater surplus 
for the paj-ment of taxes — than five hundred 
slaves. Therefore, the State in which are the 
laborers called freemen should be taxed no 
more than that in which they are called slaves. 
Suppose, by any extraordinary operation of 
nature or of law, one-half the laborers of a 
State could, in one night, be transformed into 
slaves — would the State be made the poorer, 
or the less able to pay the taxes? That the 
condition of the laboring poor in most coun- 
tries — that of the fishermen, particularly, of 
the Northern States — is as abject as that of 
slaves. It is the number of laborers which 

produces the surplus for taxation ; and num- 
bers, therefore, indiscriminately, are the fair 
index of wealth ; that it is the use of the word 
"property" here, and its application to some 
of the people of the State, which produces the 
fallacy. How does the Southern farmer pro- 
cure slaves? Either by importation or by 
purchase from his neighbor. If he imports a 
slave, he adds one to the number of laborers 
in his country, and proportionably to its profits 
and abilities to pay taxes ; if he buys from his 
neighbor, it is only a transfer of a laborer 
from one farm to another, which does not 
change the annual produce of the State, and 
therefore should not change its tax; that if a 
Northern farmer works ten laborers on his 
farm, he can, it is true, invest the surplus of 
ten men's labor in cattle; but so may the 
Southern farmer, working ten slaves; that a 
State of one hundred thousand freemen can 
maintain no more cattle than one of one hun- 
dred thousand slaves — therefore, they have no 
more of that kind of property; that a slave 
may indeed, from the custom of speech, be 
more properly called the wealth of his mas- 
ter, and the free laborer might be called th© 
wealth of his employer; but, as to the State, 
both were equally its wealth, and should 
therefore equally add to the quota of its tax. 

Mr. Harrison proposed, as a compromise, 
that two slaves should be counted as one free- 
man. He affirmed that slaves did not do as 
much work as freemen, and doubted if two 
effected more than one. That this was proved 
by the price of labor, the hire of a laborer in 
Southern Colonies being from £8 to £12, while 
in the Northern it was generally £24. 

Mr. Wilson said, that, if this amendment 
should take place, the Southern Colonies 
would have all the benefit of slaves, whilst the 
Northern ones would bear the burden. That 
slaves increase the profits of a State, which 
the Southern States mean to take to them- 
selves; that they also increase the burden of 
defence, which would, of course, fall so much 
the heavier on the Northern; that slaves oc- 
cupy the places of freemen, and eat their food. 
Dismiss your slaves, and freemen will take 
their places. It is our duty to lay every dis- 
couragement on the importation of slaves; 
but this amendment would give the Jus trium 
liberorum to him who would import slaves. 
That other kinds of property were pretty 
equally distributed through all the Colonies; 
there were as many cattle, horses, and sheep, 
in the North as the South, and South as the 
North — but not so as to slaves. That experi- 
ence has shown that those Colonies have been 
always able to pay most, which have the most 
inhabitants, whether they be black or white; 
and the practice of the Southern Colonies has 
always been to make every farmer pay poll 
taxes upon all his laborers, whether they be 
black or white. He acknowledged, indeed, 
that freemen work the most; but they con- 
sume the most also. 

They do not produce a greater surplus for 
taxation. The slave is neither fed nor clothed 



so expensively as a freeman. Again, white 
women are exempted from labor generally, 
vrhich negro women are not. In this, then, 
the Southern States have an advantage, as the 
urticle now stands. It has sometimes been 
eaid that slavery was necessary, because the 
commodities they raise would be too dear for 
market if cultivated by freemen ; but now it is 
said that the labor of the slave is the dearest. 

Mr. Paj'ne urged the original resolution of 
Congress to proportion the quotas of the States 
to the number of souls. 

Dr. Witherspoou was of opinion that the 
value of lands and houses was the best esti- 
mate of the wealth of a nation; and that it 
was practicable to obtain such a valuation. 
This is the true barometer of wealth. The one 
now proposed is imperfect in itself, and unequal 
between the States. It has been objected that 
negroes eat the food of freemen, and therefore 
should be taxed; horses also eat the food of 
freemen, therefore they should also be taxed. 
Tt has been said, too, that in carrying slaves 
into the estimate of the taxes the' State is to 
pay, we do no more than those States them- 
selves do, vrho always take slaves into the es- 
timate of the taxes the individual is to pay. 
But the cases are not parallel. In the South- 
ern Colonies slaves pervade the whole Colony; 
but they do not pervade the whole continent. 
That as to the original resolution of Congress, 
it was temporary only, and related to the 
moneys heretofore emitted; whereas we are 
now entering into a new compact, and there- 
fore stand on original ground. 

August 1, 1776. 
The question being put, the amendment 
proposed was rejected by the votes of New 
Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Con- 
necticut, New York, New Jersey, and Penn- 
sylvania, against those of Delaware, Maryland, 
Virginia, North and South Carolina. Georgia 
was divided. — Pacje 27. 

Mr. Madison to Joseph Jones. — \_Extract.'\ 

Philadelphia, Nov. 28, 1780. 

Tours of the 18th came yesterday. I am 
glad to find the Legislature persist in their 
resolution to recruit their line of the army for 
the war; though, without deciding on the ex- 
pediency of the mode under their considera- 
tion, would it not be as well to liberate and 
make soldiers at once of the blacks themselves, 
as to make them instruments for enlisting 
white soldiers? It would certainly be more 
consonant with the principles of liberty, which 
ought never to be lost sight of in a contest for 
lil)erty ; and, with white officers and a majority 
of white soldiers, no imaginable danger could 
be feared from themselves, as there certainly 
could be none from the effect of the example 
on those who should remain in bondage — ex- 
perience having shown that a freedman im- 
mediately loses all attachment and sympathy 
with his former fellow-slaves. 

We have enclosed to the Governor a copy of 

an act of the Legislature of Connecticut, ceding 
some of their territorial claims to the United 
States, which he will doubtless communicate 
to the Assembly. They reserve the jurisdic- 
tion to themselves, and clog the cession with 
some other conditions which greatly depreciate 
it, and are the more extraordinary as their title 
to the land is so controvertible a one. — Page 68. 

From 3Ir. Madison^s Report of Debates in the 
Congress of the Confederation. 
' Friday, March 28, 1783. 

The committee last mentioned reported that 
two blacks be rated as one freeman. 

Mr. Wolcott was for rating them as four to 
three. Mr. Carroll, as four to one. 

Mr. Williamson said he was principled 
against slavery; and that he thought slaves 
an encumbrance to society, instead of increas- 
ing its ability to pay taxes. 

Mr. Higginson, as four to three. 

Mr. Rutledge said, for the sake of the object, 
he would agree to rate slaves as two to one; 
but he sincerely thought three to one would 
be a juster proportion. 

Mr. Holton, as four to three. 

Mr. Osgood said he did not go beyond four 
to three. 

On a question for rating them as three to 
two, the votes were — New Hampshire, aye; 
Massachusetts, no ; Rhode Island, divided ; 
Connecticut, aye ; New Jersey, aye ; Pennsylva- 
nia, aye ; Delaware, aye ; Maryland, no ; Virginia, 
no; Norih Carolina, no; South Carolina, no. 

The paragraph was then postponed, by gen- 
eral consent, some wishing for further time to 
deliberate on it ; but it appearing to be the 
general opinion that no compromise would be 
agreed to. 

After some further discussions on the re- 
port — in which the necessity of some simple 
and practicable rule of apportionment came 
fully into view — Mr. Madison said that, in or- 
der to give a proof of the sincerity of his pro- 
fessions of liberality, he would propose that 
slaves should be rated as five to three. 

Mr. Rutledge seconded the motion. 

Mr. Wilson said he would sacrifice his 
opinion on this compromise. 

Mr. Lee was against changing the rule, but 
gave it as his opinion that two slaves were 
not equal to one freeman. 

On the question for five to three, it was 
passed in the affirmative: 

New Hampshire, .aye ; Massachusetts, divi- 
ded; Rhode Island, no; Connecticut, no; New 
Jersey, aye; Pennsylvania, aye; Maryland, aye; 
Virginia, aye; North Carolina, aye; South Car- 
olina, aye. 

A motion was then made by Mr. Bland, 
seconded by Mr. Lee, to strike out the clause 
so amended. 

And on the question, "Shall it stand?" it 
passed in the negative: 

Rhode Island, no; Connecticut, no; New- 
Jersey, aye; Pennsylvania, aye; Delaware, 
no; Maryland, aye; Virginia, aye; North Car- 



olina, aye; South Carolina, no; New Hamp- 
shii'e, aye; Massachnsetts, no. 

So the clause was struck out. 

The arguments used by those who were for 
rating- slaves high, were, that the expense of 
feeding and clothing them was as far below 
that incident to freemen, as their industry and 
ingenuity were below those of freemen ; and 
that the warm climate within which the States 
having slaves lay, compared with the rigorous 
climate and inferior fertility of the others, 
ought to have great weight in the case; and 
that the exports of the former States were 
greater than of the latter. On the other side, 
it was said that slaves were not put to labor 
as young as the children of laboring families; 
that, having no interest in their labor, they 
did as little as possible, and omitted every ex- 
ertion of thought requisite to facilitate and 
expedite it; that if the exports of the States 
having slaves exceeded those of the others, 
their imports were in proportion, slaves being 
employed wholly in agriculture, not in manu- 
factures ; and that, in fact, the balance of trade 
formerly was much more against the Southern 
States than the others. 

On the main question: 

New Hampshire, aye; Massachusetts, no; 
Rhode Island, no; Connecticut, no; New York, 
(Mr. Floyd,) aye; New Jersey, aye; Delaware, 
no ; Maryland, aye ; Virginia, aye ; North Caro- 
lina, aye; South Carolina, no. — Faff es 423-4:25. 

From Mr. Madison's Report of Debates in the 
Federal Convention. 

Mr. Madison. We have seen the mere dis- 
tinction of color made, in the most enlighten- 
ed period of time, a ground of the most op- 
pressive dominion ever exercised by man over 
man. — Page 805. 

Mr. Madison. And, in the third place, where 
slavery exists, the republican theory becomes 
still more fallacious. — Page 899. 

Mr. Madison. But he contended that the 
States were divided into diflFerent interests, not 
by their difference of size, but by other circum- 
stances ; the most material of which resulted 
partly from climate, but principally from the 
effects of their having or not having slaves. 
These two causes concurred in forming the 
great division of interests in the United States. 
It did not lie between the large and small 
States. It lay between the Northern and 
Southern; and if any defensive power were 
necessary, it ought to be mutually given to 
these two interests. He was so strongly im- 
pressed with this important truth, that he had 
been casting about in his mind for some expe- 
dient that would answer the purpose. The one 
which had occurred was, that instead of pro- 
portioning the votes of the States in both 
branches to their respective number of inhab- 
itants, computing the slaves in the ratio of five 
to three, they should be represented in one 
branch according to the number of free inhab- 
itants only, and in the other according to the 
whole number, counting the slaves as free. By 
this arrangement the Southern scale would 

have the advantage in one House, and the 
Northern in the other. He had been restrain- 
ed from proposing this expedient by two con- 
siderations ; one was his unwillingness to urge 
any diversity of interests on an occasion where 
it is but too apt to arise of itself; the other 
was the inequality of powers that must be 
vested in the two branches, and which would 
destroy the equilibrium of interests. — Fagi 

Mr. Patterson. He was also against such 
an indirect encouragement of the slave trade, 
observing that Congress, in their act relating 
to the change of the eighth article of Confed- 
eration, had been ashamed to use the term 
"slaves," and had substituted a descri^jtion. — 
Page 1055. 

Mr. King had always expected, that, as the 
Southern States are the richest, they would 
not league themselves with the Northern, un- 
less some respect were paid to their superior 
wealth. If the latter expect those preferential 
distinctions in commerce, and other advantages 
which they will derive from the connection, 
they must not expect to receive them without 
allowing some advantages in return. Eleven 
out of thirteen of the States had agreed to 
consider slaves in the apportionment of taxa- 
tion; and taxation and representation ought 
to go together. 

Mr. Rutledge moved that New Hampshire be 
reduced from three to two members. Her 
numbers did not entitle her to three, and i1 
was a poor State. 

General Pinckney seconds the motion. 

Mr. King. New Hampshire has probablj 
more than 120,000 inhabitants, and has an ex- 
tensive country of tolerable fertility. Its in- 
habitants may therefore be expected to increase 
fast. He remarked that the four Eastern 
States, having 800,000 souls, have one-third 
fewer Representatives than the four Southern 
, States, having not more than TOO, 000 souls, 
rating the blacks as five for three. The East- 
ern people will advert to these circumstances, 
and be dissatisfied. He believed them to be 
very desirous of uniting with their Southern 
brethren, but did not think it prudent to rely 
so far on that disposition as to subject them to 
any gross inequality. He was fully convinced 
that the question concerning a difference of 
interests did not lie where it had hitherto been 
discussed, between the great and small States, 
but between the Southern and Eastern. For 
this reason he had been ready to yield some- 
thing in the proportion of Representatives, for 
the security of the Southern. No principle 
would justify the giving them a majority 
They were brought as near an equality as was 
possible. He was not averse to giving them a 
still greater security, but did not see how it 
could be done. 

General Pinckney. The report, before it was 
committed, was more favorable to the South- 
ern States than as it now stands. If they are 
to form so considerable a minority, and the 
regulation of trade is to be given to the General 
Government, they will be nothing more thai? 



overseers for the Northern States. He did not 
expect the Southern States to be raised to a 
majority of Representatives, but wished them to 
have something lilce an equality. At present, 
by the alterations of the committee in favor of 
the Xorthern States, they are removed further 
from it than they were before. One member 
indeed had been added to Virginia, which he 
was glad of, as he considered her as a South- 
ern State. He was glad also that the members 
of Georgia were increased. 

Mr. AAllliamson was not for reducing New 
Hampshire from three to two, but for reducing 
some others. The Southern interest must be 
extremely endangered b}^ the present arrange- 
ment. The Northern States are to have a ma- 
jority in the first instance, and the means of 
perpetuating it. 

Mr. Dayton observed, that the line between 
Northern and Southern interest had been im- 
properly drawn ; that Pennsylvania was the 
dividing State, there being six on each side of 

General Pinckney urged the reduction ; dwelt 
on the superior wealthy of the Southern States, 
and insisted on its having its due weight in 
the Government. 

Mr. Gouverneur Morris regretted the turn 
of the debate. The States, he found, had many 
representatives on the floor. Few, he feared, 
were to be deemed the representatives of 
America. He thought the Southern States 
have, by the report, more than their share of 
representation. Property ought to have its 
weight, but not all the weight. If the South- 
ern States are to supply money, the Northern 
States are to spill their blood. Besides, the 
probable revenue to be expected from the 
Southern States has been greatly over-rated. 
He was against reducing New Hampshire. 

Mr. Randolph was opposed to a reduction 
of New Hampshire, not because she had a full 
title to three members, but because it was in 
his contemplation, first, to make it the duty, 
instead of leaving it to the discretion of the 
Legislature, to regulate the representation by 
a periodical census ; secondly, to require more 
than a bare majority of votes in the Legisla- 
ture, in certain cases, and particularly in com- 
mercial cases. 

On the question for reducing New Hamp- 
shire from three to two Representatives, it 
passed in the negative : 

North Carolina, South Carolina, aye; 2. 
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Geor- 
gia, no ; Pages 1056-1059. 

Mr. Randolph. He urged strenuously that 
express security ought to be provided for in- 
cluding slaves in the ratio of representation. 
He lamented that such a species of property 
existed. But, as it did exist, the holders of it 
would require this security. It was perceived 
that the design was entertained by some, of 
excluding slaves altogether; the Legislature 
therefore ought not to be left at liberty. — Page 

General Pinckney reminded the Convention, 

that if the committee should fail to insert some 
security to the Southern States against an 
emancipation of slaves, and taxes on exports, 
he should be bound by duty to his State to 
vote against their report. — Page 1187. 

Mr. King wished to know what influence 
the vote just passed was meant to have on the 
succeeding part of the report, concerning the 
admission of slaves into the rule of represent- 
ation. He could not reconcile his mind to the 
article, if it was to prevent objections to the 
latter part. The admission of slaves was a 
most grating circumstance to his mind, and he 
believed would be so to a great part of the 
people of America. He had not made a strenu- 
ous opposition to it heretofore, because he 
had hoped that this concession would have 
produced a readiness, which had not been 
manifested, to strengthen the General Govern- 
ment, and to mark a full confidence in it. 

The report under consideration had, by the 
tenor of it, put an end to all those hopes. In 
two great points, the hands of the Legislature 
were absolutely tied. The importation of 
slaves could not be prohibited. Exports could 
not be taxed. Is this reasonable ? What are 
the great objects of the general system ? First, 
defence against foreign invasion ; secondly, 
against internal sedition. Shall all the States, 
then, be bound to defend each, and shall each 
be at liberty to introduce a weakness which 
will render defence more difficult? Shall one 
part of the United States be bound to defend 
another part, and that other part be at liberty 
not only to increase its own danger, but to 
withhold the compensation for the burden ? 
If slaves are to be imported, shall not the ex- 
ports produced by their labor supply a revenue, 
the better to enable the General Government 
to defend their masters? There was so much 
inequality and unreasonableness in all this, 
that the people of the Northern States could 
never be reconciled to it. No candid man 
could undertake to justify it to them. He had 
hoped that some accommodation would have 
taken place on this subject; that at least a 
time would have been limited for the importa- 
tion of slaves. He never could agree to let 
them be imported without limitation, and then 
be represented in the National Legislature. In- 
deed, he could so little persuade himself of the 
rectitude of such a practice, that he was not 
sure he could assent to it, under any circum- 
stances. At all events, either slaves should 
not be represented, or exports should be taxa- 

Mr. Sherman regarded the slave trade as 
iniquitous ; but the point of representation 
having been settled, after much difficulty and 
deliberation, he did not think himself bound 
to make opposition ; especially as the present 
article, as amended, did not preclude any ar- 
rangement whatever on that point, in another 
place of the report. 

Mr. Gouverneur Morris moved to insert be- 
fore "inhabitants" the word "free." Much, 
he said, would depend on this point. He never 
would concur in upholding domestic slavery 



It was a nefarious institution. It was the 
curse of Heaven on the States where it pre- 
vailed. Compare the free regions of the Mid- 
dle States, where a rich and noble cultivation 
marks the prosperity and happiness of the 
people, with the misery and poverty which 
overspread the barren wastes of Virginia, Ma- 
ryland, and the other States having slaves. 
Travel through the whole continent, and you 
behold the prospect continually varying with 
the appearance and disappearance of slavery. 
The moment you leave the Eastern States, and 
enter New York, the effects of the institution 
become visible. Passing through the Jerseys, 
and entering Pennsylvania, every criterion of 
superior improvement witnesses the change. 
Proceeding southwardly, every step you take 
through the great regions of slaves presents a 
desert, increasing with the increasing propor- 
tion of these wretched beings. Upon what 
principle is it that the slaves shall be computed 
in the representation? Are they men? Then, 
make them citizens, and let them vote. Are 
they property? Why, then, is no other prop- 
erty included? The houses in this city (Phil- 
adelphia) are worth more than all the wretch- 
ed slaves who cover the rice swamps of South 
Carolina. The admission of slaves into the 
representation, when fairly explained, comes 
to this : That the inhabitant of Georgia and 
of South Carolina, who goes to the coast of 
Africa, and, in defiance of the most sacred laws 
of humanity, tears awa^^ his fellow-creatures 
from their dearest connections, and damns them 
to the most cruel bondage, shall have more 
votes in a Government instituted for the pro- 
tection of the rights of mankind, than the citi- 
zen of Pennsylvania or New Jersey, who views 
with a laudable horror so nefarious a practice. 
He would add, that domestic slavery is the 
most prominent feature in the aristocratic 
countenance of the proposed Constitution. 
The vassalage of the poor has ever been the 
favorite offspring of aristocracy. And what is 
the proposed compensation to the Northern 
States, for a sacrifice of every principle of 
right — of every impulse of humanity? They 
are to bind themselves to march their militia 
for the defence of the Southern States — for 
their defence against those very slaves of whom 
they complain. They must supply vessels and 
seamen, in case of foreign attack. The Legis- 
lature will have indefinite power to tax them by 
excises and duties on imports, both of which 
will fall heavier on them than on the Southern 
inhabitants, for the Bohea tea used by a North- 
ern freeman will pay more tax than the whole 
consumption of the miserable slave, which con- 
sists of nothing more than his physical sub- 
sistence and the rag that covers his nakedness. 
On the other side, the Southern States are not 
to be restrained from importing fresh supplies 
of wretched Africans, at once to increase the 
danger of attack and the difficulty of defence. 
Nay, they are to be encouraged to it, by an as- 
surance of having their votes in the National 
Government increased in proportion ; and are, 
at the same time, to have their exports and 

their slaves exempt from all contributions for 
the public service. 

Let it not be said that direct taxation is to 
be proportioned to representation. It is idle 
to suppose that the General Government can 
stretch its hand directly into the pockets of 
the people, scattered over so vast a country. 
They can only do it through the medium of 
exports, imports, and excises. For what, then, 
are all the sacrifices to be made? He would 
sooner submit himself to a tax for paying for 
all the negroes in the United States, than sad- 
dle posterity with such a Constitution. 

Mr. Dayton seconded the motion. He did 
it, he said, that his sentiments on the subject 
might appear, whatever might be the fate of 
the amendment. 

Mr. Sherman did not regard the admission 
of the negroes into the ratio of representation 
as liable to such insuperable objections. It 
was the freemen of the Southern States who 
were, in fact, to be represented, according to 
the taxes paid by them, and the negroes ara 
only included, in the estimate of the taxes. 
This was his idea of the matter. 

Mr. Pinckney considered the fisheries and 
the Western frontier as more burdensome to 
the United States than the slaves. He thought 
this could be demonstrated, if the occasion 
were a proper one. 

Mr. Wilson thought the motion premature., 
An agreement to the clause would be no bai 
to the object of it. 

On the question on the motion to insert. 
" free " before inhabitants " — 

New Jersey, aye; 1. New Hampshire, Mas- 
sachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Dela- 
ware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Georgia, no; 10. — Fp. 12G1 
to 1266. 

Mr. L. Martin proposed to vary article 7, 
section 4, so as to allow a prohibition or tax 
on the importation of slaves. In the first place, 
as five slaves are to be counted as three free- 
men, in the apportionment of Eepresentatives, 
such a clause would leave an encouragement 
to this traffic. In the second place, slaves 
weakened one part of the Union, which the 
other parts were bound to protect; the privi- 
lege of importing them was therefore unrea- 
sonable. And, in the third place, it was 
inconsistent with the principles of the Revolu- 
tion, and dishonorable to the American char- 
acter, to have such a feature in the Constitu- 

Mr. Rutledge did not see how the importa- 
tion of slaves could be encouraged by this 
section. He was not apprehensive of insurrec- 
tions, and would readily exempt the other 
States from the obligation to protect the 
Southern against them. Religion and hu- 
manity had nothing to do with this question. 
Interest alone is the governing principle with 
nations. The true question at present is, 
whether the Southern States shall or shall 
not be parties to the Union. If the Northern 
States consult their interest, they will not op- 
1 pose the increase of slaves, which will increase 



the commodities of which they will become 
the carriers. 

Mr. Ellsworth was for leaving the clause as 
it stands. Let every State import what it 
pleases. The morality or wisdom of slavery 
lire considerations belonging to the States 
themselves. What enriches a part enriches 
the whole, and the States are the best judges 
of their particular interest. The old Confede- 
ration had not meddled with this point, and 
he did not see any greater necessity for bring- 
ing it within the policy of the new one. 

Mr. Pinckney. South Carolina can never 
receive the plan, if it prohibits the slave trade. 
In every proposed extension of the powers of 
Congress, that State has expressly and watch- 
fully excepted that of meddling with the im- 
portation of negroes. If the States be all left 
at liberty on this subject. South Carolina may, 
perhaps, by degrees, do of herself what is 
wished, as Virginia and Maryland have already 


Wednesday, August 22. 

In Convention. — Article 7, section 4, was re- 

Mr. Sherman was for leaving the clause as 
it stands. He disapproved of the slave trade; 
yet, as the States were now possessed of the 
right to import slaves, as the public good did 
not require it to be taken from them, and as it 
was expedient to have as few objections as 
possible to the proposed scheme of Govern- 
ment, he thought it be?t to leave the matter 
as we find it. He observed that the abolition 
of slavery seemed to be going on in the United 
States, and that the good sense of the several 
States would probably, by degrees, complete 
it. He urged on the Convention the necessity 
of despatching its business. 

Col. Mason. This infernal traffic originated 
in the avarice of British merchants. The Brit- 
ish Government constantly checked the at- 
tempts of Virginia to put a stop to it. The 
present question concerns not the importing 
States alone, but the whole Union. The evil 
of having slaves was experienced during the 
late war. Had slaves been treated as they 
might have been by the enemy, they would 
have proved dangerous instruments in their 
hands. But their folly dealt by the slaves as 
it did by the Tories. He mentioned the dan- 
gerous insurrections of the slaves in Greece 
and Sicily; and the instructions given by 
Cromwell to the Commissioners sent to Vir- 
ginia, to arm the servants and slaves, in case 
other means of obtaining its submission should 
fail. Maryland and Virginia, he said, had al- 
ready prohibited the importation of slaves, ex- 
pressly. North 'Carolina had done the same, 
in substance. All this would be in vain, if 
South Carolina and Georgia be at liberty to 
import. The Western people are already call- 
ing out for slaves for their new lands, and will 
fill that country with slaves, if they can be got 
through South Carolina and Georgia. Slavery 
discourages arts and manufactures. The poor 
despise labor when performed by slaves. They 

prevent the emigration of whites, who really 
enrich and strengthen a country. They pro- 
duce the most pernicious effect on manners. 
Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. 
They bring the judgment of Heaven on a coun- 
try. As nations cannot be rewarded or pun- 
ished in the next world, they must be in this. 
By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, 
Providence punishes national sins by national 
calamities. He lamented that some of our 
Eastern brethren had, from a lust of gain, em- 
barked in this nefarious traffic. As to the 
States being in possession of the right to im- 
port, this was the case with many other rights, 
now to be properly given up. He held it es- 
sential, in every point of view, that the General 
Government should have power to prevent the 
increase of slavery. 

Mr. Ellsworth, as he had never owned a 
slave, could not judge of the effects of slavery 
on character. He said, however, that if it was 
to be considered in a moral light, we ought to 
go further, and free those already in the coun- 
try. As slaves also multiply so fast in Virginia 
and Maryland that it is cheaper to raise than 
import them, whilst in the sickly rice swamps 
foreign supplies are necessary, if we go no fur- 
ther than is urged, we shall be unjust towards 
South Carolina and Georgia. Let us not in- 
termeddle. As population increases, poor la- 
borers will be so plenty as to render slaves 
useless. Slavery, in time, will not be a speck 
in our country. Provision is already made in 
Connecticut for abolishing it. And the aboli- 
tion has already taken place in Massachusetts. 
As to the danger of insurrections from foreign 
influence, that will become a motive to kind 
treatment of the slaves. 

Mr. Pinckney. If slavery be wrong, it is 
justified by the example of all the world. He 
cited the cases of Greece, Rome, and other 
ancient States ; the sanction given by France,' 
England, Holland, and other modern States. 
In all ages, one-half of mankind have been 
slaves. If the Southern States were let alone, 
they will probably of themselves stop importa- 
tion. He would himself, as a citizen of South 
Carolina, vote for it. An attempt to take aAvay 
the right, as proposed, will produce serious ob- 
jections to the Constitution, which he wished 
to see adopted. Gen. Pinckney declared it to 
be his firm opinion, that if himself and all his 
colleagues were to sign the Constitution, and 
use their personal influence, it would be of no 
avail towards obtaining the assent of their 
constituents. South Carolina and Georgia 
cannot do without slaves. As to Virginia, she 
will gain by stopping the importations. Her 
slaves will rise in value, and she has more than 
she wants. It would be unequal to require 
South Carolina and Georgia to confederate on 
such unequal terms. He said the royal assent, 
before the Revolution, had never been refused 
to South Carolina, as to Virginia. He con- 
tended that the importation of slaves would be 
for the interest of the whole Union. The more 
slaves, the more produce to employ the carry- 
ing trade; the more consumption also; and 



tho more of this, the more revenue for the com- 
mon treasury. He admitted it to be reasona- 
ble that skives should be dutied, like other im- 
ports ; but should consider a rejection of the 
clause as an exclusion of South Carolina from 
the Union. 

Mr. Baldwin had conceived national objects 
alone to be before the Convention — not such 
as, like the present, were of a local nature. 
Georgia was decided on this point. That State 
has always hitherto supposed a General Gov- 
ernment to be the pursuit of the central States, 
who wished to have a'vortex for everything; 
that her distance would preclude her from 
equal advantage, and thai she could not pru- 
dently purchase it by yielding national powers. 
From this, it might be understood in wliat 
light she would view an attempt to abridge 
one of her favorite prerogatives. If left to her- 
self, she may probably put a stop to the evil. 
As one ground for this conjecture, he took 

notice of the sect of , which he said was a 

respectable class of people, who carried their 
ethics beyond the mere equality of men, ex- 
tending their humanity to the claims of the 
whole animal creation. 

Mr. Wilson observed, that if South Carolina 
and Georgia were themselves disposed to get 
rid of the importation of slaves in a short time, 
as had been suggested, they would never refuse 
to unite because the importation might be pro- 
hibited. As the section now stands, all arti- 
cles imported are to be taxed. Slaves alone 
are exempt. This is, in fact, a bounty on that 

Mr. Gerry thought we had nothing to do 
with the conduct of the States as to slaves, but 
ought to be careful not to give any sanction 
to it. 

Mr. Dickinson considered it as inadmissible, 
on every principle of honor and safety, that 
the importation of slaves should be authorized 
to the States by the Constitution. The true 
question was, whether the national happiness 
would be promoted or impeded by the import- 
ation; and this question ought to be left to the 
National Government, not to the States par- 
ticularly interested. If England and France 
permit slavery, slaves are, at the same time, 
excluded from both those kingdoms. Greece 
and Rome were made unhappy by their slaves. 
He could not believe that the Southern States 
would refuse to confederate on the account 
apprehended, especially as the power was not 
likely to be immediately exercised by the 
General Government. 

Mr. Williamson stated the law of North Car- 
olina on the subject — to wit: that it did not 
directly prohibit the importation of slaves. It 
imposed a duty of £5 on each slave imported 
from Africa, £10 on each from elsewhere, and 
£50 on each from a State licensing manumis- 
sion. He thought the Southern States could 
not be members of the Union, if the clause 
should be rejected; and that it was wrong to 
force anything down, not absolutely necessary, 
and which any State must disagree to. 

Mr. King thought the subject should be con- 

sidercd in a political light only. If two States 
will not agree to the Constitution, as stated 
on one side, he could affirm with equal belief, 
on the other, that great and equal opposition 
would be experienced from the other States. 
He remarked on the exemption of slaves from 
duty, whilst every other import was subjected 
to it, as an inequality that could not fail to 
strike the commercial sagacity of the North 
ern and Middle States. 

Mr. Langdon was strenuous for giving the 
power to the General Government. He could 
not, with a good conscience, leave it with the 
States, who could then go on with the traffic, 
without being restrained by the opinions here 
given, that they will themselves cease to im- 
port slaves. 

General Pinckney thought himself bound to 
declare candidly that he did not think South 
Carolina would stop her importation of slaves 
in any short time; but only stop them occa- 
sionally, as she now does. He moved to com- 
mit the clause, that slaves might be made 
liable to an equal tax with other imports; 
which he thought right, and which would re- 
move one difficulty that had been started. 

Mr. Rutledge. If the Convention thinks that 
North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, 
will never agree to the plan, unless their right 
to import slaves be untouched, the expectation 
is vain. The people of those States will never 
be such fools as to give up so important an 
interest. He was strenuous against striking 
out the section, and seconded the motion of 
General Pinckney for a commitment. 

Mr. Gouverneur Morris wished the whole 
subject to be cominitted, including the clauses 
relating to taxes on exports, and to a naviga- 
tion act. These things may form a bargain 
among the Northern and Southern States. 

Mr. Butler declared that he never would 
agree to the power taxing exports. 

Mr. Sherman said it was better to let the 
Southern States import slaves than to part 
with them, if they made that a sine qua non. 
He was opposod to a tax on slaves imported, 
as making the matter worse, because it implied 
they were property. He acknowledged that if 
the power of prohibiting the importation should 
be given to the General Government, that it 
would be exercised. He thought it would be 
its duty to exercise the power. 

Mr. Read was for the commitment, provided 
the clause concerning taxes on exports should 
also be commited. 

Mr. Sherman observed that that clause had ' 
been agreed to, and therefore could not be 

Mr. Randolph was for committing, in order 
that some middle ground might, if possible, be 
found. He could never agree to the clause as 
it stands. He would sooner risk the Constitu- 
tion. He dwelt on the dilemma to which the 
Convention was exposed. By agreeing to the 
clause, it would revolt the Quakers, the Meth- 
odists, and many others in the States having 
no slaves. On the other hand, two States 
might be lost to the Union Let as, then, he 



said, try the chances of a commitment. — Pages 
1388 to 1396. 

The report of the committee of eleven (see 
Friday-, the 24th) being taken up — 

General Pinckney moved to strike out the 
words, " the year eighteen hundred," as the 
year limiting the importation of slaves ; and 
to insert the words, " the year eighteen hun- 
dred and eight." 

Mr. Gorham seconded the n^otion. 

Mr. Madison. Twenty years will produce 
all the mischief that can be apprehended from 
the liberty to import slaves. So long a term 
will be more dishonorable to the American 
character, than to say nothing about it in the 

On the motion, which passed in the affirm- 
ative : 

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecti- 
cut, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Georgia, aye; 7. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, 
Delaware, Virginia, no; 4. 

Mr. Gouverneur Morris was for making the 
clause read at once, "the importation of slaves 
into North Carolina, South Carolina, and Geor- 
gia, shall not be prohibited," &c. This, he 
said, would be most fair, and would avoid the 
ambiguity by which, under the power with re- 
gard to naturalization, the liberty reserved to 
the States might be defeated. He wished it to 
be known, also, that this part of the Constitu- 
tion was a compliance with those States. If 
the change of language, however, should be 
objected to by the members from those States, 
he should not urge it. 

Col. Mason was not against using the term 
" slaves," but against naming North Carolina, 
South Carolina, and Georgia, lest it should 
give offence to the people of those States. 

Mr. Sherman liked a description better than 
the terms proposed, which had been declined 
by the old Congress, and were not pleasing to 
some people. 

Mr. Clymer concurred with Mr. Sherman. 

Mr. Williamson said, that both in opinion 
and practice he was against slavery ; but 
thought it more in favor of humanity, from a 
view of all circumstances, to let in South Car- 
olina and Georgia on those terms, than to ex- 
clude them from the Union. 

Mr. Gouverneur Morris withdrew his mo- 

Mr. Dickinson wished the clause to be con- 
fined to the States which had not themselves 
prohibited the importation of slaves ; and, for 
that purpose, moved to amend the clause so as 
to read: "The importation of slaves into such 
of the States as shall permit the same, shall 
not be prohibited by the Legislature of the 
United States until the year 1808;" which was 
disagreed to, nem. con. 

The first part of the report was then agreed 
to, amended as follows: 

"The migration or importation of such per- 
sons as the several States now existing shall 
think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited 
by the Legislature prior to the year 1808." 

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecti- 

cut, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Georgia, aye; T. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, 
Delaware, Virginia, no; 4. 

Mr. Baldwin, in order to restrain and more 
explicitly define "the average duty," moved 
to strike out of the second part the words 
"average of the duties laid on imports," and 
insert, "common impost on articles not enu- 
merated ; " which was agreed to, nem. con. 

Mr. Sherman was against this second part, 
as acknowledging men to be property, by tax- 
ing them as such, under the character of 

Mr. King and Mr. Langdon considered this 
as the price of the first part. 

Gen. Pinckney admitted that it was so. 

Col. Mason. Not to tax, will be equivalent 
to a bounty on the importation of slaves. 

Mr. Gorham thought that Mr. Sherman 
should consider the duty not as implying that 
slaves are property, but as a discouragement 
to the importation of them. 

Mr. Gouverneur Morris remarked that, as the 
clause now stands, it implies that the Legisla-. 
ture may tax freemen imported. 

Mr. Sherman, in answer to Mr. Gorham, ob- 
served that the smalluess of the duty showed 
revenue to be the object, not the discourage- 
ment of the importation. 

CHANDISE, CONSUMED, kc— Pages 1427 to 

Mr. Pinckney, urging the propriety of secu- 
ring the benefit of the habeas corpus in the most 
ample manner, moved that it should not be 
suspended but on the most urgent occasions; 
and then only for a limited time, not exceed- 
ing twelve months. 

Mr. Rutledge was for declaring the habeas 
corpus inviolate. He did not conceive that a 
suspension could ever be necessary, at the same 
time, through all the States. 

Mr. Gouverneur Morris moved that "the 
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not 
be suspended, unless where, in cases of rebel- 
lion or invasion, the public safety may require 

Mr. Wilson doubted whether, in any case, a 
suspension could be necessary; as the discre- 
tion now exists with Judges, in most import- 
ant cases, to keep in jail or admit to bail. 

The first part of Mr. Gouverneur Morris's 
motion, to the word "unless," was agreed to, 
nem. con. On the remaining part : 

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecti- 
cut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Vir- 
ginia, aye; 7. North Carolina, South Caroli- 
na, Georgia, no; 3. — Pages 1441-2. 

Article 14 was then taken up. 

General Pinckney was not satisfied with it. 
He seemed to wish some provision should be 
included in favor of property in slaves. 

On the question on article 14: 

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, 



New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, 
Virginia, North Carolina, aye; 9, South Car- 
olina, no; 1. Georgia, divided. 

Mr. Butler and Mr. Pinckney moved to re- 
quire "fugitive slaves and servants to be de- 
livered up like criminals." 

Mr. Wilson. This would oblige the Execu- 
tive of the State to do it at the public expense. 

Mr. Sherman saw no more propriety in the 
public seizing and surrendering a slave or ser- 
vant, than a horse. 

Mr. Butler withdrew his proposition, in or- 
der thiit some particular provision might be 
made, apart from this article. — Pages 1447-8. 

General Pinckney said it was +he true inter- 
est of the Southern States to have no regula- 
tion of commerce; l)ut considering the loss 
brought on the commerce of the Eastern States 
by the Revolution, their liberal conduct to- 
wards the views * of South Carolina, and the 
interest the weak Southern States had in be- 
ing united with the strong Eastern States, he 
thought it proper that no fetters should be 
imposed on the power of making commercial 
regulations; and that his constituents, though 
prejudiced against the Eastern States, would 
be reconciled to this liberality. He had him- 
self, he said, prejudices against the Eastern 
States before he came here, but would ac- 
knowledge that he had found them as liberal 
and candid as any men whatever. — Page 1451. 

The report of the committee for striking out 
section 6, requiring two-thirds of each House 
to pass a navigation act, was then agreed to, 
nem. con. 

Mr. Butler moved to insert, after article 15, 
"If any person, bound to service or labor in 
any of the United States, shall escape into an- 
other State, he or she shall not be discharged 
from such service or labor, in consequence of 
any regulations subsisting in the State to which 
they escape, but shall be delivered up to the 
person justly claiming their service or labor;" 
which was agreed to, nem. con. — Page 1456. 

Mr. Madison moved to postpone the consid- 
eration of the amended proposition, in order 
to take up the following: 

" The Legislature of the United States, when- 
' ever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem 
' necessary, or on the application of two-thirds 
' of the Legislatures of the several States, shall 
' propose amendments to this Constitution, 
' which shall be valid to all intents and pur- 
' poses as part thereof, when the same shall 
' have been ratified by three-fourths, at least, 
' of the Legislatures of the several States, or 
' by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as 
' one or the other mode of ratification may be 
* proposed by the Legislature of the United 
' States." 

Mr. Hamilton seconded the motion, 

Mr. Rutledge said he never could agree to 

* He meant the permission to import slaves. An 
under-tanding on the two subjects of navigation and 
slavery had taken plaee between those parts of the 
Union, vi^hich explains the vote on the mo'ion depend- 
ing, as well as the language of General Pinckney and 

give a power by which the articles relating to 
slaves might be altered by the States not inter- 
ested in that property, and prejudiced against 
it. In order to obviate this objection, these 
words were added to the proposition: 

'■'■Provided, Tliat no amendments which may 
' be made prior to the year 1808 shall in any 
' manner affect the fourth and fifth sections of 
' the seventh article." 

The postponement being agreed to, 

On the question on the proposition of Mr. 
Madison and Mr. Hamilton, as amended : 

Massachusetts, Connecticut, N. Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Georgia, aye; 9. Delaware, 
no; 1. New Hampshire, divided. — P«^e 1535. 

Article 1, section 2: 

On motion of Mr. Randolph, the word "ser- 
vitude" was struck out, and "service" unani- 
mously inserted — the former being thought to 
express the condition of slaves, and the latter 
the obligations of free persons. 

Mr. Dickinson and Mr. Wilson moved to 
strike out "and direct taxes," from article 1, 
section 2, as improperly placed in a clause re- 
lating merely to the constitution of the House 
of Representatives. 

Mr. Gouverneur Morris. The insertion here 
was in consequence of what had passed on 
this point — in order to exclude the appearance 
of counting the negroes in the representation. 
The including of them may now be referred to 
the object of direct taxes, and incidentally only 
to that of representation. 

On the motion to strike out "and direct 
taxes" from this place: 

New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, aye; 3. 
New Harppshire, • Massachusetts, Connecticut, 
Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South 
Carolina, Georgia, no; 8. — Pages 1569-70. 

Article 4, section 2, (the third paragraph,) 
the term "legally" was struck out, and the 
words "under the laws thereof" inserted, after 
the word "State," in compliance with the wish 
of some, who thought the term "legal" equiv- 
ocal, and favoring the idea that slavery was 
legal in a moral view. — Page 1589. 

Mr. Sherman expressed his fears that three- 
fourths of the States might be brought to do 
things fatal to particular States — as abolishing 
them altogether, or depriving them of their 
equality in the Senate. He thought it reason- 
able that the proviso in favor of the States 
importing slaves should be extended, so as to 
provide that no State should be affected in its 
internal police, or deprived of its equality in 
the Senate. — Pages 1590-91, 

Mr. Sherman moved, according to his idea 
above expressed, to annex to the end of the 
article a further proviso, "that no State shall, 
without its consent, be affected in its internal 
police, or deprived of its equal suffrage in the 

Mr. Madison, Begin with these special pro- 
visos, and every State will insist on them, for 
their boundaries, exports, &c. 

On motion of Mr. Sherman: 

Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, aye ; 3. 



New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, 
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Car- 
olina, Georgia, no; 8. — Page 1592. 


Debates in Virginia State Convention^ called to 
ratify the Constitution. 

Governor Randolph. I am informed, and I 
believe rightly, because I derive my informa- 
tion from those whose knowledge is most re- 
spectable, that Virginia is in a very unhappy 
position with respect to the access of foes by 
sea, though happily situated for commerce. 
This being her situation by sea, let us look at 
land. She has frontiers adjoining the States 
of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Caro- 
lina. Two of those States have declared them- 
selves members of the Union. Will she be in- 
accessible to the inhabitants of those States ? 
Cast your eyes to the Western country, that 
is inhabited by cruel savages, your natural 
enemies. Besides their natural propensity to 
barbarity, they may be excited by the gold of 
foreign enemies to commit the most horrid 
ravages on your people. Our great and in- 
creasing population is one remedy to this evil ; 
but being scattered thinly over so extensive a 
country, how difficult is it to collect their 
strength or defend the country. This is one 
point of weakness. I wish, for the honor of my 
countrymen, that it was the only one. There 
is another circumstance which renders us more 
vulnerable. Are we not weakened by the pop- 
ulation of those whom we hold in slavery? 
The day may come when they may make im- 
pression upon us. Gentlemen who have been 
long accustomed to .the contemplation of the 
subject, think there is a cause of alarm in this 
case. The number of those people, compared 
to that of the whites, is in an immense pro- 
portion: their number amounts to 236,000, 
that of the whites only to 352,000.— Po^es 
80, 81. 

Mr. Mason. We are told, in strong lan- 
guage, of dangers to which we will be exposed, 
unless we adopt this Constitution. Among 
the rest, domestic safety is said to be in danger. 
This Government does not attend to our do- 
mestic safety. It authorizes the importation 
of slaves for twenty odd years, and thus con- 
tinues upon us that nefarious trade. Instead 
of securing and protecting us, the continua- 
tion of this detestable trade adds daily to our 
weakness. Though this evil is increasing, 
there is no clause in the Constitution that will 
prevent the Northern and Eastern States from 
meddling with our whole property of that 
kind. There is a clause to prohibit the import- 
ation of slaves after twenty years ; but there is 
no provision made for securing to the South- 
ern States those they now possess. It is far 
from being a desirable property. But it will 
involve us in great difficulties and infelicity to 
be now deprived of them. There ought to be 
a clause in the Constitution, to secure us that 
property which we have acquired under our 

former laws, and the loss of which would bring 
ruin on a great many people. 

Mr. Lee, of Westmoreland. The honorable 
gentleman abominates it, because it does not 
prohibit the importation of slaves, and because 
it does not secure the continuance of the exist- 
ing slavery! Is it not obviously inconsistent 
to criminate it for two contradictorj'^ reasons? 
I submit it to the consideration of the gentle- 
man, Avhether, if it be reprehensible in the one 
case, it can be censurable in the other. Mr. 
Lee then concluded, by earnestly recommend- 
ing to the committee to proceed regularlv. — 
Page 212. 

Mr. Pendleton. I am unfortunate enough 
to differ from the worthy member in another 
circumstance. He professes himself an advo- 
cate for middling and lower classes of men. I 
profess to be a friend to the equal liberty of all 
men — from the palace to the cottage — without 
any other distinction than between good and 
bad men. I appeal to my public life and pri- 
vate behaviour, to decide whether I departed 
from this rule. Since distinctions have been 
brought forth and communicated to the audi- 
ence, and Avill be therefore disseminated, I beg 
gentlemen to take with them this observation, 
that distinctions have been produced by the 
opposition. From the friends of the new Gov- 
ernment they have heard none. None such 
are to be found in the organization of the pa- 
per before me. 

Why bring into the debate the whims of 
writers — introducing the distinction of well 
born from others ? I consider every man well 
born who comes into the world with an intel- 
ligent mind, and with all his parts perfect. I 
am an advocate for fixing our Government on 
true republican principles, giving to the poor 
man free liberty in his person and property. — 
Page 212. 

Mr. Henry. It is exceedingly painful to me 
to be objecting, but I must make a few obser- 
vations. I shall not again review the cata- 
logue of dangers which the honorable gentle- 
man entertained us with. They appear to me 
absolutely imaginary. They have, in my con- 
ception, been proved to be such. But sure I 
am, that the dangers of this system are real, 
when those who have no similar interests with 
the people of this country are to legislate for 
us — when our dearest interests are left in the 
power of those whose advantage it may be to 
infringe them. How will the quotas of troops 
be furnished? Hated as requisitions are, your 
Federal officers cannot collect troops like dol- 
lars, and carry them in their pockets. You 
must make those abominable requisitions for 
them, and the scale will be in proportion to the 
number of your blacks as well as your whites, 
unless they violate the constitutional rule of 
apportionment. This is not calculated to rouse 
the fears of the people. It is founded in truth. 
How oppressive and dangerous must this be to 
the Southern States, who alone have slaves! 
This will render their proportion infinitely 
greater than that of the Northern States. It 
has been openly avowed that this shall be the 



rule. 1 will appeal to the judgments of the 
oommittee, whether there be danger. — Pages 
240, 241. 

Mr. Henry. He told gentlemen that these 
clauses were suiiicient to shake all their impli- 
cation. For, saj's he, if Congress had no power 
but what was given to them, why restrict them 
by negative words? Is not the clear implica- 
tion this — that if these restrictions were not 
inserted, they could have performed what they 
prohibit? The worthy member had said that 
Congress ought to have power to protect all, 
and had given this system the highest enco- 
mium; but still insisted that the power over 
the militia was concurrent. To obviate the 
f aility of this doctrine, Mr. Henry alleged that 
it was not reducible to practice. Examine it, 
says he, reduce it to practice. Suppose an 
insurrection in Virginia, and suppose there be 
danger apprehended of an insurrection in an- 
other State, from the exercise of the Govern- 
ment; or, suppose a national war, and there 
be discontent among the people of this State, 
that produces or threatens an insurrection; 
suppose Congress, in either case, demands a 
number of militia, will they not be obliged to 
go ? AVhere are your reserved rights, when 
3'-our militia go to a neighboring State ? Which 
call is to be obeyed, the Congressional call, or 
the call of the State Legislature? The call of 
Congress must be obeyed. I need not remind 
this committee, that the sweeping clause will 
cause their demands to be submitted to. This 
clause enables them ''to make all laws which 
tball be necessary and proper to carry into 
execution all the powers vested by this Consti- 
tution in the Government of the United States, 
or in an}^ department or officer thereof." Mr. 
Chairman, I will turn to another clause, which 
relates to the same subject, and tends to show 
the fallacy of their argument. The tenth sec- 
tion of the first article, to which reference was 
made by the worthy member, militates against 
himself. It says, that " no State shall engage 
iu war, unless actually invaded." If you give 
this clause a fair construction, what is the true 
meaning of it ? What does this relate to ? Not 
domestic insurrections, but war. If the coun- 
try be invaded, a State may go to war, but 
cannot suppress insurrections. If there should 
happen an insurrection of slaves, the country 
cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot 
therefore suppress it, without the interposition 
of Congress. The fourth section of the fourth 
article expressly directs, that in case of domes- 
tic violence, Congress shall protect the State, 
on application of the Legislature or Executive; 
and the eighth section of the first article gives 
Congress power to call forth the militia, to 
quell insurrections. There cannot, therefore, 
be a concurrent power. The State Legislatures 
ought to have power to call forth the efforts of 
militia, when necessary. Occasions for call- 
ing them out may be urgent, pressing, and in- 
stantaneous. The States cannot now call them, 
let an insurrection be ever so perilous, without 
an application to Congress. So long a delay 
may be fatal. — Page 315. 

Mr. G. Nicholas. Another worthy member 
says there is no power in the States to quell 
an insurrection of slaves. Have they it now? 
If they have, does the Constitution take it 
away? If it does, it must be in one of the 
three clauses which have been mentioned by 
the worthy member. The first clause gives 
the General Government power to call them 
out when necessary. Does this take it away 
from the States? No; but it gives an addi- 
tional security; for, beside the power in the 
State Governments to use their own militia, it 
will be the duty of the General Government to 
aid them with the strength of the Union when 
called for. No part of this Constitution can 
show that this power is taken away. 

But an argument is drawn from that clause 
which saj^s that "No State shall engage in war 
unless actually invaded, or in such imminent 
danger as will not admit of delay? What 
does this prohibition amount to? It must be 
a war with a foreign enemy that the States are 
prohibited from making, for the exception to 
the restriction proves it. The restriction in- 
cludes only offensive hostility, as they are at 
liberty to engage in war when invaded, or in 
imminent danger. They are therefore not re- 
strained from quelling domestic insurrections, 
which are totally different from making war 
with a foreign Power. But the great thing to 
be dreaded is, that during an insurrection, the 
militia will be called out from the State. This 
is his kind of argument. Is it possible that at 
such a time the General Government would 
order the militia to be called? It is a ground- 
less objection, to work on gentlemen's appre- 
hensions within these walls. As to the fourth 
article, it was introduced wholly for the par- 
ticular aid of the States. A republican form 
of government is guarantied, and protection 
is secured against invasion and domestic vio- 
lence, on application. Is not this a guard as 
strong as possible? Does it not exclude the 
unnecessary interference of Congress in busi- 
ness of this sort? — Page 318. 

Sec. 9. The migration or importation of 
such persons as any of the States now existing 
shall think proper to admit, shall not be pro- 
hibited by the Congress prior to the year one 
thousand eight hundred and eight; but a tax 
or duty may be imposed on such importation, 
not exceeding ten dollars for each person. 

Mr. George Mason. Mr. Chairman, this is 
a fatal section, which has created more dan- 
gers than any other. The first clause allows' 
the importation of slaves for twenty years. 
Under the Royal Government this evil was 
looked upon as a great oppression, and many 
attempts were made to prevent it ; but the in- 
terest of the African merchants prevented its 
prohibition. No sooner did the Revolution 
take place, than it was thought of. It was 
one of the great causes of our separation from 
Great Britain. Its exclusion has been a prin- 
cipal object of this State and most of the 
States in the Union. The augmentation of 
slaves weakens the States, and such a trade is 
diabolical in itself and disgraceful to mankind. 



Yet, by this Constitution, it is continued for 
twenty years. As much as I value an union of 
all the States, I would not admit the Southern 
States into the Union, unless they agree to the 
discontinuance of this disgraceful trade, be- 
cause it ATOuld bring weakness and not strength 
to the Union. And, though this infamous 
traffic be continued, we have no security for 
the property of that kind which we have al- 
ready. There is no clause in this Constitution 
to secure it; for they may lay such tax as will 
amount to manumission. And should the 
Government be amended, still this detestable 
kind of commerce cannot be discontinued till 
after the expiration of twenty years ; for the 
fifth article, which provides for amendments, 
expresslj' excepts this clause. I have ever 
looked upon this as a most disgraceful thing 
to America. I cannot express my detestation 
of it. Yet they have not secured us the prop- 
erty of the slaves we have already; so that 
" they have done what they ought not to have 
done, and have left undone what they ought 
to have done." 

Mr. Madison. Mr. Chairman, I should con- 
ceive this clause to be impolitic, if it were one 
of the things which could be excluded without 
encountering greater evils. The Southern 
States would not have entered into the Union 
of America, without the temporary permission 
of that trade ; and if they were excluded from 
the Union, the consequences might be dreadful 
to them and to us. We are not in a worse 
■situation than before. That traffic is prohibited 
by our laws, and Ave may continue the prohi- 
bition. The Union in general is not in a worse 
situation. Under the Articles of Confederation 
it might be continued forever; but by this 
clause an end may be put to it after tAventy 
years. There is, therefore, an amelioration of 
our circumstances. A tax may be laid in the 
meantime; but it is limited, otherwise Con- 
gress might lay such a tax as would amount to 
a prohibition. From the mode of representa- 
tion and taxation, Congress cannot lay such a 
tax ou slaves as will amount to manumission. 
Another clause secures us that property which 
w^ now possess. At present, if any slave 
elopes to any of those States where slaves are 
free, he becomes emancipated by their laws ; 
for the laws of the States are uncharitable to 
one another in this respect. But in this Con- 
stitution, "No person held to service or labor 
in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping 
into another, shall, in consequence of any law 
or regulation therein, be discharged from such 
service or labor, but shall be delivered up on 
claim of the party to whom such service or 
labor may be due." This clause was expressly 
inserted to enable owners of slaves to reclaim 
them. This is a better security than any that 
now exists. No power is given to the General 
Government to interfere with respect to the 
property in slaves now held by the States. 
The taxation of this State being equal only to 
its representation, such a tax cannot be laid 
as he supposes. They cannot prevent the im- 
portation of slaves for twenty years, but after 

that period thjey can. The gentlemen fiom 
South Carolina and Georgia argued in this 
menner: "We have now liberty to import this 
species of property, and much of the property 
now possessed has been purchased or other- 
wise acquired in contemplation of improving 
it by the assistance of imported slaves. What 
would be the consequence of hindering us 
from it? The slaves of Virginia would rise in 
value, and we would be obliged to go to your 
markets." I need not expatiate on this sub- 
ject. Great as the evil is, a dismemberment 
of the Union would be worse. If those States 
should disunite from the other States, for not 
including them in the temporary continuance 
of this traffic, they might solicit and obtain aid 
from foreign Powers. 

Mr. Tyler warmly enlarged on the impolicy, 
iniquity, and disgracefulness, of this wicked 
traffic. He thought the reasons urged by gen- 
tlemen in defence of it were inconclusive and 
ill-founded. It was one cause of the com- 
plaints against British tyranny, that this trade 
Avas permitted. The Revolution had put a 
period to it; but noAV it was to be rcAived. 
He thought nothing could justify it. This 
temporary restriction on Congress militated, 
in his opinion, against the arguments of gen- 
tlemen on the other side, that AA'hat was not 
given up was retained by the States ; for that, 
if this restriction had not been inserted. Con- 
gress could have prohibited the African trade. 
The power of prohibiting it was not expressly 
delegated to them ; yet they Avould have had 
it by implication, if this restraint had not been 
provided. This seemed to him to demonstrate 
most clearly the necessity of restraining them, by 
a bill of rights, from infringing our inalienable 
rights. It was immaterial Avhether the bill of 
rights was by itself, or included in the Consti- 
tution. But he contended for it, one way or 
the other. It would be justified in our own 
example, and that of England. His earnest 
desire Avas, that it should be handed doAvn to 
posterity, that he had opposed this wicked 
clause. — Pages 335, 336. 

Mr. Madison was surprised that any gentle- 
man shonld return to the clauses Avhich had 
already been discussed. He begged the gen- 
tleman to read the clauses Avhich gave the 
poAver of exclusive legislation, and he might 
see that nothing could be done without tlie 
consent of the States. With respect to the 
supposed operation of what was denominated 
the SAveeping clause, the gentleman, he said, 
was mistaken; for it only extended to the 
enumerated poAvers. Should Congress attempt 
to extend it to any poAver not enumerated, it 
AA^ould not be warranted by the clause. to 
the restriction in the clause under considera- 
tion, it was a restraint on the exercise of a 
poAver expressly delegated to Congress, A'iz: 
that of regulating commerce with foreign 

Mr. Henry insisted that the insertion of 
these restrictions on Congress Avas a plain 
demonstration that Congress should exercise 
powers by implication. The gentleman had 



admitted that Congress could have interdicted 
the African trade, were it not for this restric- 
tion. If so, the power, not having been ex- 
pressly delegated, must be obtained by impli- 
cation. He demanded, where, then, was their 
doctrine of reserved rights? He wished for 
negative clauses, to prevent them from assum- 
ing any powers but those expressly given. He 
asked Avhy it was omitted to secure us that 
property in slaves which we hold now? He 
feared its omission was done with design. 
They might lay such heavy taxes on slaves as 
would amount to emancipation, and then the 
Southern States would be the only sufferers. 
His opinion was confirmed by the mode of 
levying money. Congress, he observed, had 
power to lay and collect taxes, imposts, and 
excises. Imposts (or duties) and excises were 
to be uniform. But this uniformity did not 
extend to taxes. This might compel the South- 
ern States to liberate their negroes. He wished 
this property, therefore, to be guarded. He 
considered the clause which had been adduced 
by the gentleman as a security for this property, 
as no security at all. It was no more than 
this — thau a runaway negro could be taken up 
in Maryland or New York. This could not 
prevent Congress from interfering with that 
property, by laying a grievous and enormous 
tax on it, so as to compel owners to emanci- 
pate their slaves rather than pay the tax. He 
apprehended it would be productive of much 
stock-jobbing, and that they would play into 
one another's hands in such a manner as that 
this property would be lost to the country. 

Mr. Greorge Nicholas wondered that gentle- 
men who were against slavery Avould be op- 
posed to this clause; as, after that period, the 
slave trade would be done away. He asked if 
gentlemen did not see the inconsistency of their 
arguments? They object, says he, to the Con- 
stitution, because the slave trade is laid open 
for tAventy odd years ; and yet tell you that, 
by some latent operation of it, the slaves, who 
are so now, will be manumitted. At the same 
moment it is opposed for being promotive and 
destructive of slavery. He contended that it 
Avas advantageous to Virginia that it should 
be in the power of Congress to prevent the im- 
portation of slaves after twenty years, as it 
would then put a period to the evil complained 
of. As the Southern States would not con- 
federate without this clause, he asked if gen- 
tlemen would rather dissolve the Confederacy 
than to suffer this temporary inconvenience, 
admitting it to be such? Virginia might con- 
tinue the prohibition of such importation du- 
ring the intermediate period, and would be 
benefitted by it, as a tax of ten dollars on each 
slave might be laid, of which she would receive 
a share. He endeavored to obviate the objec- 
tion of gentlemen, that the restriction on Con- 
gress was a proof that they would have power 
not given them, by remarking that they would 
only have had a general superintendency of 
trade, if the restriction had not been inserted. 
But the Southern States insisted on this ex- 
ception to that general superintendency for 

twenty years. It could not, therefore, have 
been a power by implication, as the restriction 
was an exception from a delegated power. 
The taxes could not, as had been suggested, 
be laid so high on negroes as to amount to 
emancipation; because taxation and repre- 
sentation were fixed according to the census 
established in the Constitution. The excep- 
tion of taxes from the uniformity annexed to 
duties and excises, could not have the opera- 
tion contended for by the gentlemen; because 
other clauses had clearly and positively fixed 
the census. Had taxes been uniform, it would 
have been universally objected to; for no one 
object could be selected without involving 
great inconveniences and oppressions. But, 
says Mr. Nicholas, is it from the General Gov- 
vernment we are to fear emanci])ation? Gen- 
tlemen will recollect what I said in another 
House, and what other gentlemen have said 
that advocated emancipation. Give me leave 
to say, that that clause is a great security for 
our slave tax. I can tell the committee that 
the people of our country are reduced to beg- 
gary by the taxes on negroes. Had this Con- 
stitution been adopted, it would not have been 
the case. The taxes were laid on all our ne- 
groes. By this system, two-fifths are exemjjted. 
He then added, that he had imagined gentle- 
men would not support here what they had 
opposed in another place. 

Mr. Henry replied, that though the propor- 
tion of each was to be fixed by the census, and 
three-fifths of the slaves only were included 
in the enumeration, yet the proportion of Vir- 
ginia, being once fixed, might be laid on blacks, 
and blacks only; for the mode of raising the 
proportion of each State being to be directed 
by Congress, they might make slaves the sole 
object to raise it. Personalities he wislied to 
take leave of; they had nothing to do with 
the question, which was solely whether that 
paper was wrong or not. 

Mr. Nicholas replied, that negroes must be 
considered as persons or property. If as prop- 
erty, the proportion of taxes to be laid on them 
was fixed in the Constitution. If he appre- 
hended a poll tax on negroes, the Constitution 
had prevented it; for, by the census, where a 
, white man paid ten shillings, a negro paid 
[ but six shillings ; for the exemption of two- 
fifths of them reduced it to that proportion. — 
Page 337. 

Mr. George Mason said, that gentlemen might 
think themselves secured by the restriction in. 
the fourth clause, that no capitation or other 
direct tax should be laid, but in proportion to 
the census before directed to be taken; but 
that, when maturely considered, it would be 
found to be no security whatever. It was 
j nothing but a direct assertion, or mere con- 
1 firmation, of the clause which fixed the ratio 
[ of taxes and representation. It only meant 
j that the quantum to be raised of each State 
! should be in proportion to their numbers, in 
I the manner therein directed ; but the General 
j Government was not precluded from laying 
1 the proportion of any particular State on any 



one species of property they might think proper. 
For instance, if five hundred thousand dollars 
were to be raised, they might lay the whole of 
the proportion of the Southern States on the 
blacks, or any one species of property; so that, 
by laying taxes too heavily on slaves, they 
might totally annihilate that kind of property. 
No real security could arise from the clause, 
which provides that persons held to labor in 
one State, escaping into another, shall be de- 
livered up. This only meant that runaway 
slaves should not be protected in other States. 
As to the exclusion of ex post facto laws, it 
could not be said to create any security in this 
case ; for laying a tax on slaves would not be 
cx post facto. 

Mr. Madison replied, that even the Southern 
States, who were most affected, were perfectly 
satisfied with this provision, and dreaded no 
danger to the property they now hold. It ap- 
peared to him that the General Government 
would not intermeddle with that property for 
twenty years, but to lay a tax on every slave 
imported, not exceeding ten dollars ; and that 
after the expiration of that period, they might 
prohibit the traffic altogether. The census in 
the Constitution was intended to introduce 
equality in the burdens to be laid on the com- 
munity. No gentleman objected to laying du- 
ties, imposts, and excises, uniformly; but uni- 
formity of taxes would be subversive to the 
principles of equality; for that it was not pos- 
sible to select any article which would be easy 
for one State, but what would be heavy for 
another; that the proportion of each State 
Ijeing ascertained, it would be raised by the 
General Government in the most convenient 
manner for the people, and not by the selection 
of any one particular object; that there must 
be some degree of confidence put in agents, 
or else we must reject a state of civil society 
altogether. Another great security to this 
property, which he mentioned, was, that five 
States were greatly interested in that species 
of property ; and there were other States which 
had some slaves, and had made no attempt or 
taken any step to take them from the people. 
There were a few slaves in New York, New 
Jersey, and Connecticut; these States would 
probably oppose any attempts to annihilate 
this species of property. He concluded, by 
observing that he would be glad to leave the 
decision of this to the committee. — Pages 
422, 423. 

Mr. Henry. Among ten thousand implied 
powers which they may assume, they may, if 
v/e be engaged in war, liberate every one of 
your slaves, if they please. And this must and 
will be done by men, a majority of whom have 
not a common interest with you. They will, 
therefore, have no feeling for your interests. 
It has been repeatedly said here, that the great 
object of a National Government was national 
defence. That power which is said to be in- 
tended for security and safety, may be rendered 
detestable and oppressive. If you give power 
to the General Government to provide for the 
general defence, the means must be commen- 

surate to the end. All the means in the pos- 
session of the people must be given to the 
Government which is intrusted with the pub- 
lic defence. In this State there are 236,000 
blacks, and there are many in several other 
States ; but there are feAv or none in the North- 
ern States ; and yet, if the Northern States shall 
be of opinion that our numbers are numberless, 
they may call forth every national resource. 
May Congress not say that every black man must 
fight? Did we not see a little of this last war? 
We were not so hard pushed as to make eman- 
cipation general; but acts of Assembly passed, 
that every slave who would go to the army 
should be free. Another thing will contribute 
to bring this event about: slavery is detested — 
we feel its fatal effects — we deplore it with all 
the pity of humanity. Let all these consider- 
ations, at some future period, press with full 
force on the minds of Congress. Let that hu- 
manity, which I trust will distinguish America, 
and the necessity of national defence — let all 
these things operate on their minds ; they will 
search that paper, and see if they have power 
of manumission. And have they not, sir? 
Have they not power to provide for the gene- 
ral defence and welfare? May they not think 
that these call for the abolition of slavery? 
May not they pronounce all slaves free, and 
will they not be warranted by that power? 
There is no ambiguous implication or logical 
deduction. The paper speaks to the point. 
They have the power, in clear, unequivocal 
terms, and will clearly and certainly exercise 
it. As much as I deplore slavery, I see that 
prudence forbids its abolition. I deny that 
the General Government ought to set them 
free because a decided majority of the States 
have not the ties of sympathy and fellow-feel- 
ing for those whose interest would be affected 
by their emancipation. The majority of Con- 
gress is to the North, and the slaves are to the 
South. In this situation, I see a great deal of 
the property of the people of Virginia in jeop- 
ardy, and their peace and tranquillity gone. 
I repeat it again, that it would rejoice my very 
soul, that every one of my fellow-beings was 
emancipated. As we ought, Avith gratitude, 
to admire that decree of Heaven which has 
numbered us among the free, we ought to la- 
ment and deplore the necessity of holding our 
fellow-men in bondage. But is it practicable, 
by any human means, to liberate them, with- 
out producing the most dreadful and ruinous 
consequences? We ought to possess them in 
the manner we have inherited them from our 
ancestors, as their manumission is incompati- 
ble with the felicity of the country: but we 
ought to soften, as much as possible, the rigor 
of their unhappy fate. I know that, in a va- 
riety of particular instances, the Legislature, 
listening to complaints, have admitted their 
emancipation. Let me not dwell on this sub- 
ject. I will only add, that this, as well as 
every other property of the people of Virginia, 
is in jeopardy, and put in the hands of those 
who have no similarity of situation with us. 
This is a local matter, and I can see no pro- 



prioty in subjecting it to Congress. — Page 431. 

Gov. Randolph. That honorable gentleman 
[Mr. Henry] and some others have insisted 
that the abolition of slavery will result from 
it, and at the same time have complained that 
it encourages its continuation. The incoia- 
sistency proves, in some degree, the futility of 
their arguments. But if it be not conclusive 
to satisfy the committee that there is no dan- 
ger of enfranchisement taking place, I beg 
leave to refer them to the paper itself. I hope 
that there is none here who, considering the 
subject in the calm light of philosophy, will 
advance an objection dishonorable to Virginia; 
that at the moment they are securing the rights 
of their citizens, an objection is started, that 
there iS a spark of hope that those unfortunate 
men now held in bondage may, by the opera- 
tion of the General Government, be made free. 
But if any gentleman be terrified by this ap- 
prehension, let him read the system. I ask, 
and I will ask again and again, till I be an- 
swered, (not by declamation,) AVhere is the part 
that has a tendency to the abolition of slavery? 
Is it the clause which says that "the migration 
or importation of such persons as any of the 
States now existing shall think proper to ad- 
mit, shall not be prohibited by Congress prior 
to the year 1808?" This is an exception from 
the power of regulating commerce, and the re- 
striction is only to continue till 1808. Then 
Congress can, by the exercise of that power, pre- 
vent future importations; but does it affect the 
existing state of slavery? Were it right here 
to mention what passed in Convention on the 
occasion, I might tell you that the Southern 
States — even South Carolina herself— conceived 
this property to be secure by these words. I 
believe, whatever we may think here, that there 
was not a member of the Virginia delegation 
who had the smallest suspicion of the abolition 
of slavery. Go to their meaning. Point out 
the clause where this formidable power of 
emancipation is inserted. 

But another clause of the Constitution proves 
the absurdity of the supposition. The words 
of the clause are: "No person held to service 
or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, 
escaping into another, shall, in consequence 
of any law or regulation therein, be discharged 
from such service or labor, but shall be de- 
livered up, on claim of the party to whom such 
service or labor may be due." Every one 
knows that slaves are held to service and labor. 
And when authority is given to owners of 
slaves to vindicate their property, can it be 
supposed they can be deprived of it ? If a citi- 
zen of this State, in consequence of this clause, 
can take his runaway slave in Maryland, can 
it be seriously thought that, after taking him 
and bringing him home, he could be made 
heel— Page 437. 

Mr. Madison. With respect to the amend- 
ments proposed by the honorable gentleman, it 
ought to be considered how far they are good. 
As far as they are palpably and insuperably 
objectionable, they ought to be opposed. One 
amendment he proposes is, that any army 

which shall be necessary'-, shall be raised by 
the consent of two-thirds of the States. I 
most devoutly wish that there may never be 
an occasion of having a single regiment. 
There can be no harm in declaring that stand- 
ing armies in time of peace are dangerous to 
liberty, and ought to be avoided, as far as it 
may be consistent with the protection of the 
community. But when we come to say that 
the national security shall depend, not on a 
majority of the people of America, but that it 
may be frustrated by less than one-third of the 
people of America, I ask if this be a safe or 
proper mode ? What part of the United States 
are most likely to stand in need of this pro- 
tection? The weak parts, which are the South- 
ern States. Will it be safe to leave the United 
States at the mercy of one-third of the States, 
a number which may comprise a very small 
proportion of the American people? They 
may all be in that part of America Avhich is 
least exposed to danger. As far as a remote 
situation from danger would render exertions 
for public defence less active, so far the South- 
ern States would be endangered. 

The regulation of commerce, he further pro- 
posed, should depend on two-thirds of both 
Houses. I wish I could recollect the history 
of this matter ; but I cannot call it to mind 
with sufficient exactness. But I well recollect 
the reasoning of some gentlemen on that sub- 
ject. It was said, and I believe with truth, 
that every part of America does not stand in 
equal need of security. It was observed that 
the Northern States were most competent to 
their own safety. Was it reasonable, asked 
they, that they should bind themselves to the 
defence of the Southern States, and still be left 
at the mercy of the minority for commercial 
advantages? Should it be in the power of the 
minority to deprive them of this and other ad- 
vantages, when they are bound to defend the 
whole Union, it might be a disadvantage for 
them to confederate. 

These Avere his arguments. This policy of 
guarding against political inconveniences, by 
enabling a small part of the community to op- 
pose the Government, and subjecting the ma- 
jority to a small minority, is fallacious. In 
some cases, it may be good ; in others, it may 
be fatal. In all cases, it puts it in the power 
of the minority to decide a question which 
concerns the majority. 

I was struck with surprise when I heard 
hira express himself alarmed with respect to 
the emancipation of slaves. Let me ask, if 
they should even attempt it, if it will not be 
an usurpation of power? There is no power 
to Avarrant it, in that paper. If there be, I 
know it not. But w^hy should it be done? 
Says the honorable gentleman, for the general 
welfare; it will infuse strength into our sys- 
tem. Can any member of this committee sup- 
pose that it will increase our strength ? Can 
any one believe that the American Councils 
will come into a measure which will strip them 
of their property, discourage and alienate the 
affections of five-thirteenths of the Union? 



Why was nothing of this sort aimed at before? 
I believe such an idea never entered into any 
American breast, nor do I believe it ever will, 
unless it will enter into the heads of those gen- 
tlemen who substitute unsupported suspicions 
for reasons. — Page 452. 


North Carolina State Convention, called to ratify 
the Constitution. 

First clause of the ninth section read. 

Mr, J. McDowall wished to hear the reasons 
of this restriction. 

Mr. Spaight answered, that there was a 
contest between the Northern and Southern 
States; that the Southern States, whose prin- 
cipal support depended on the labor of slaves, 
would not consent to the desire of the North- 
ern States to exclude the importation of slaves 
absolutely; that South Carolina and Georgia 
insisted on this clause, as they were now in 
want of hands to cultivate their lands ; that in 
the course of twenty years they would be fully 
supplied; that the trade would be abolished 
then, and that, in the mean time, some tax or 
duty might be laid on. 

Mr. McDoAvall replied, that the explanation 
was just such as he expected, and by no means 
satisfactory to him, and that he looked upon 
it as a very objectionable part of the system. 

Mr. Iredell. Mr. Chairman, I rise to express 
sentiments similar to those of the gentleman 
from Craven. For my part, were it practica- 
ble to put an end to the importation of slaves 
immediately, it would give me the greatest 
pleasure, for it certainly is a trade utterly in- 
consistent with the rights of humanity, and 
under which great cruelties have been exer- 
cised. When the entire abolition of slavery 
takes place, it will be an event which must be 
pleasing to every generous mind and every 
friend of human nature; but we often wish for 
things which are not attainable. It was the 
wish of a great majority of the Convention to 
put an end to the trade immediately, but the 
States of South Carolina and Georgia would 
not agree to it. Consider, then, what would 
be the difference between our present situation, 
in this respect, if Ave do not agree to the Con- 
stitution, and what it will be if we do agree 
to it. If we do not agree to it, do we remedy 
the evil? No, sir, we do not; for if the Con- 
stitution be not adopted, it will be in the power 
of every State to continue it forever. They 
may or may not abolish it, at their discretion. 
But if we adopt the Constitution, the trade 
must cease after twenty years, if Congress 
declare so, whether particular States please so 
or not. Surely, then, we gain by it. This was 
the utmost that could be obtained. I heartily 
v. ish more could have been done. But as it 
is, this Government is nobly distinguished 
above others by that very provision. Where 
is there another country in which such a re- 
striction prevails? We therefore, sir, set an 
Example of humanity, by providing for the 
abolition of this inhuman traffic, though at a 

distant period. I hope, therefore, that this 
pai't of the Constitution will not be condemned, 
because it has not stipulated for what it was 
impracticable to obtain. 

Mr. Spaight further explained the clause: 
that the limitation of this trade to the term of 
twenty years, was a compromise between the 
Eastern States and the Southern States. South 
Carolina and Georgia wished to extend the 
term ; the Eastern States insisted on the entire 
abolition of the trade. That the State of North 
Carolina had not thought proper to pass any 
law prohibiting the importation of slaves, and 
therefore its delegation in the Convention did 
not think themselves authorized to contend for 
an immediate prohibition of it. 

Mr. Iredell added to what he had said before, 
that the States of Georgia and South Carolina 
had lost a great many slaves during the war, 
and that they wished to supply the loss. 

Mr. Galloway. Mr. Chairman, the explana- 
tion given to this clause does not satisfy my 
mind. I wish to see this abominable trade put 
an end to. But in case it be thought proper 
to contiuTip this abominable traffic for twenty 
years, yet I do not wish to see the tax on the 
importation extended to all persons whatso- 
ever. Our situation is different from the peo- 
ple to the North. We want citizens; they do 
not. Instead of laying a tax, we ought to 
give a bounty to encourage foreigners to come 
among us. With respect to the abolition of 
slavery, it requires the utmost consideration. 
The' property of the Southern States, consists 
principally of slaves. If they mean to do aAvay 
slavery altogether, this property will be de- 
stroyed. I apprehend it means to bring for- 
ward manumission. If we must manumit our 
slaves, what country- shall we send them to? 
It is impossible to be happy, if, after manu- 
mission, they are to stay among us. 

Mr. Iredell. Mr. Chairman, the worthy gen- 
tleman, I believe, has misunderstood this clause, 
which runs in the following words : "The mi- 
gration or importation of such persons as any 
of the States now existing shall think proper 
to admit, sUall not be prohibited by the Con- 
gress prior to the year 1808, but a tax or duty 
may be imposed on such importation, not ex- 
ceeding ten dollars for each person." Now, 
sir, observe that the Eastern States, who long 
ago have abolished slavery, did not approve of 
the expression, slaves; they therefore used 
another that answered the same purpose. The 
committee will observe the distinction between 
the two words, migration and importation. 
The first part of the clause will extend to per- 
sons who come into the country as free people, 
or are brought as slaves ; but the last part 
extends to slaves only. The word migration 
refers to free persons; but the word importa- 
tion refers to slaves, because free people can- 
not be said to be imported. The tax, there- 
fore, is only to be laid on slaves, who are 
imported, and not on free persons, who migrate. 
I further beg leave to say, tjiat the gentleman 
is mistaken in another thing. He seems to 
say that this extends to the abolition of sla- 



very. Is there anything in this Constitution 
which says that Congress shall have it in their 
power to abolish the slavery of those slaves 
who are now in the country? Is it not the 
plain meaning of it, that after twenty years 
they may prevent the future importation of 
slaves? It does not extend to those now in 
the country. There is another circumstance 
to be observed. There is no authority vested 
in Congress to restrain the States, in the in- 
terval of twenty years, from doing what they 
please. If they wish to inhibit such importa- 
tion, they may do so. Our next Assembly 
may put an eiitire end to the importation of 
slaves.— Faffes, 96, 97, 98. 

Article fourth. The first section, and two 
first clauses of the second section, read without 

The last clause read. 

Mr. Iredell begged leave to explain the rea- 
son of this clause. In some of the Northern 
States they have emancipated all their slaves. 
If any of our slaves, said he, go there, and re- 
main there a certain time, they would, by the 
present laws, be entitled to their freedom, so 
that their masters could not get them again. 
This would be extremely prejudicial to the in- 
habitants of the Southern States, and, to pre- 
vent it, this clause is inserted in the Constitu- 
tion. Though the word slave be not mentioned, 
this is the meaning of it. The Northern dele- 
gates, owing to their particular scruples on the 
subject of slavery, did not choose the word 
slave to be mentioned. — Faffe 157. 

Mr. Iredell. It is, however, to be observed, 
that the first and fourth clauses in the ninth 
section of the first article are protected from 
any alteration till the year 1808; and in order 
that no consolidation should take place, it is 
provided that no State shall, by any amend- 
ment or alteration, be ever deprived of an 
equal sufirage in the Senate, without its own 
consent. The two first prohibitions are with 
respect to the census, according to which di- 
rect taxes are imposed, and with respect to 
the importation of slaves. As to the first, it 
must be observed that there is a material dif- 
ference between the Northern and Southern 
States. The Northern States have been much 
longer settled and are much fuller of people 
than the Southern, but have not land in equal 
proportion, nor scarcely any slaves. The sub- 
ject of this article was regulated with great 
difl&culty, and by a spirit of concession which 
it would not be prudent to disturb for a good 
many years. In twenty years there will prob- 
ably be a great alteration, and then the subject 
may be considered with less difficulty and 
greater coolness. In the mean time, the com- 
promise was upon the best footing that could 
be obtained. A compromise likewise took 
place in regard to the importation of slaves. 
It is probable that all the members reprobated 
this inhuman traffic, but those of South Caro- 
lina and Georgia would not consent to an im- 
mediate prohibition of it; one reason of which 
was, that during the last war they lost a vast 
number of negroes, which loss they wish to 

supply. In the mean time, it is left to the 
States to admit or prohibit the importation, 
and Congress may impose a limited duty upon 
it— Fag e 158. 

Debates in the Fcnnsylvania State Convention, 
called to ratify the Constitution. 
Mr. Wilson. Much fault has been found 
with the mode of expression used in the first 
clause of the ninth section of the first article. 
I believe I can assign a reason why that mode 
of expression was used, and why the term slave 
was not admitted in this Constitution. And 
as to the manner of laying taxes, this is not 
the first time that the subject has come into 
the view of the United States, and of the Legis- 
latures of the several States. The gentleman 
[Mr. Findley] will recollect that in the present 
Congress the quota of the Federal debt and 
general expenses was to be in proportion to 
the value of land, and other enumerated prop- 
erty, within the States. After trying this for 
a number of years, it was found, on all hands, 
to be a mode that could not be carried into 
execution. Congress was satisfied of this, and 
in the year 1783 recommended, in conformity 
with the powers they possessed under the Arti- 
cles of Confederation, that the quota should be 
according to the number of free people, inclu- 
ding those bound to servitude, and excluding 
Indians not taxed. These were the expressions 
used in 1783, and the fate of this recommend- 
ation was similar to all their other resolutions. 
It was not carried into effect, but it was adopted 
by no fewer than eleven out of thirteen States; 
and it cannot be but matter of surprise to hear 
gentlemen, who agreed to this very mode of 
expression at that time, come forward and 
state it as an objection on the present occa- 
sion. It was natural, sir, for the late Conven- 
to adopt the mode after it had been agreed 
to by eleven States, and to use the expression 
which they found had been received as unex- 
ceptionable before. With respect to the clause 
restricting Congress from prohibiting the mi- 
gration or importation of such persons as any 
of the States now existing shall think proper 
to admit prior to the year 1808, the honorable 
gentleman says that this clause is not only 
dark, but intended to grant to Congress, for 
that time, the power to admit the importation 
of slaves. No such thing was intended; but I 
will tell you what was done — and it gives me 
high pleasure that so much was done. Under 
the present Confederation, the States may ad- 
mit the importation of slaves as long as they 
please; but by this article, after the year 1808 
the Congress will have power to prohibit such 
importation, notwithstanding the disposition 
of any State to the contrary. I consider this 
as laying the foundation for banishing slavery 
out of this country; and though the period is 
more distant than I could wish, yet it will 
produce the same kind, gradual change which 
was pursued in Pennsylvania. It is with much 
satisfaction I view this power in the General 
Government, whereby they may lay an inter- 
diction on this reproachful trade; but an im- 



mediate advantage is also obtained, for a tax 
or duty may be imposed on such importation, 
not exceeding ten dollars for each person. 
And this, sir, operates as a partial prohibition. 
It was all that could be obtained — I am sorry 
it was no more; but from this, I think there 
is reason to hope that yet a few years, and it 
will be prohibited altogether; and in the mean 
time the new States which are to be formed 
will be under the control of Congress in this 
particular, and slaves will never be introduced 
amongst them. The gentleman says that it is 
unfortunate in another point of view — it means 
to prohibit the introduction of white people 
from Europe, as this tax may deter them from 
coming among us. A little impartiality and 
attention will discover the care that the Con- 
vention took in selecting their language. The 
words are: ''The migration or importation of 
such persons, &c., shall not be prohibited by 
Congress prior to the year 1808, but a tax or 
duty may be imposed on such importation." It 
is observable, here, that the term migration is 
dropped Avheu a tax or duty is mentioned, so 
that Congress have power to impose the tax 
only on those imported. — Par/es 250, 251. 

Debates in the South Carolina State Convention, 
called to ratify the Comtitution. 

General Pinckney. Tbe numbers in the dif- 
ferent States, according to the most accurate 
accounts we could obtain, were — 

In New Hampshire, 102,000; Massachusetts, 
360,000; Rhode Island, 58,000; Connecticut, 
202,000; New York, 238,000; New Jersey, 
138,000; Pennsylvania, 360,000; Delaware, 
37,000; Maryland, (intiluding three-fifths of 
80,000 negroes,) 218,000; Virginia, (including 
three-fifths of 280,000 negroes,) 420,000 ; North 
Carolina, (including three-fifths of 60,000 ne- 
groes,) 200,000; South Carolina, (including 
three-fifths of 80.000 negroes,) 150,000; Geor- 
gia, (including three-fifths of 20,000 negroes,) 

The first House of Representatives will con- 
sist of si.\t3'-live members ; South Carolina will 
send five of them. Each State has the same 
representation in the Senate that she has at 
present; so that South Carolina will have, 
under the new Constitution, a thirtieth share 
in the Goyei'nment, which is the proportion 
she has under the old Confederation ; and when 
it is considered that the Eastern States are full 
of men, and that we must necessarily increase 
rapidly to the southward and southwestward, 
he did not think that the Southern States will 
have an inadequate share in the representa- 
tion. The honorable gentleman alleges that 
the Southern States are weak. I sincerely 
agree with him; we are so weak that, by 
ourselves, we could not form a union strong 
enough for the purpose of effectually protect- 
ing eacli other. Without union with the other 
States, South Carolina must soon fall. Is tiiere 
any one among us so much a Quixote as to 
suppose ihat this State could long maintain 
her independence if she stood alone, or was 
only connected with the Southern States? 1 

scarcely believe there is. Let an invading 
Power send a naval force into the Chesapeake, 
to keep Virginia in alarm, and attack South 
Carolina with such a naval and military force 
as Sir Henry Clinton brought here in 1780, 
and, though they might not soon conquer us, 
they would certainly do us an infinite deal of 
mischief; and if they considerably increased 
their numbers, we should probably fall. As, 
from the nature of our climate and the fewness 
of our inhabitants, we are undoubtedly weak, 
should we not endeavor to form a close union 
with the Eastern States, who are strong? 
And ought we not to endeavor to increase that 
species of strength which will render them of 
most service to us, both in peace and war? I 
mean their navy. We certainly ought ; and by 
doing this, we render it their peculiar interest 
to afford us every assistance in their power, as 
every wound that we receive will eventually 
affect them. Reflect, for a moment, on the 
situation of the Eastern States — their country 
full of inhabitants, and so impracticable to an 
invading enemy by their numberless stone 
walls, and a variety of other circumstances, 
that they can be under no apprehension of 
danger from an attack. They can enjoy their 
independence without our assistance. If our 
Government is to be founded on equal com- 
pact, what inducement can they possibly have 
to be united with us, if we do not grant them 
some privileges with regard to their shipping? 
Or, supposing they were to unite with us with- 
out having these privileges, can we flatter 
ourselves that such a union would be lasting, 
or that they would afford us effectual assist- 
ance when invaded? Interest and policy both 
concurred in prevailing upon us to submit the 
regulation of commerce to the General Gov- 
ernment ; but I will also add, justice and hu- 
manity require it, likewise ; for, who have been 
the greatest sufferers in the Union, by our ob- 
taining our independence? I answer, the 
Eastern States; they have lost everything but 
their country and their freedom. It is noto- 
rious that some ports to the eastward, which 
used to fit out one hundred and fifty sail of 
vessels, do not now fit out thirty; that their 
trade of ship building, which used to be very 
considerable, is now annihilated; that their 
fisheries are trifling, and their mariners in 
want of bread. Surely we are called upon, by 
every tie of justice, friendship, and humanity, 
to relieve their distresses; and as, by their 
exertions, they have assisted us in establish- 
ing our freedom, we should let them, in some 
measure, partake of our prosperity. The Gen- 
eral then said he would make a few observa- 
tions on the objections which the gentleman 
had thrown out on the restrictions that might 
be laid on the African trade after the year 
1808. On this point your delegates had to 
contend with the religious and political preju- 
dices of the Eastern and Middle States, and 
with the interested and inconsistent opinion 
of Virginia, who was warmly opposed to our 
importing more slaves. I am of the same 
opinion now as I was two years ago, when I 



used the expressions the gentleman has quoted, 
that while there remained one acre of swamp 
land uncleared, of South Carolina, I would 
raise my voice against restricting the importa- 
tion of negroes. I am as thoroughly convinced 
as that gentleman is, that the nature of our 
climate, and the flat, swampy situf^tion of our 
country, obliges us to cultivate our lands with 
negroes ; and that, without them, South Caro- 
lina would soon be a desert waste. You have 
so frequently heard my sentiments on this sub- 
ject, that I need not now repeat them. It was 
alleged by some of the members who opposed 
an unlimited importation, that slaves increased 
the weakness of any State who admitted them; 
that they were a dangerous species of proper- 
ty, which an invading enemy could easily turn 
against ourselves and the neighboring States ; 
and that as we were allowed a representation 
for them in the House of Representatives, our 
influence in Government would be increased 
in proportion as we were less able to defend 
ourselves. "Show some period," said the 
members from the Eastern States, "Avhen it 
may be in our power to put a stop, if we please, 
to the importation of this weakness, and we 
will endeavor, for your convenience, to restrain 
the religious and political prejudices of our 
people on this subject." The Middle States and 
Virginia made us no such proposition ; theij loere 
for an immediate and total prohibition. We en- 
deavored to obviate the objections that were 
made, in the best manner we could, and as- 
signed reasons for our insisting on the import- 
ation, which there is no occasion to repeat, as 
they must occur to ever}^ gentleman in the 
house. A committee of the States was ap- 
pointed, in order to accommodate this matter; 
and, after a great deal of difficulty, it was set- 
tled on the footing recited in the Constitution. 

By this settlement we have secured an un- 
limited importation of. negroes for twenty 
X years ; nor is it declared that the importation 
shall be then stopped ; it may be continued. 
We have a security that the General Govern- 
ment can never emancipate them, for no such 
authority is granted, and it is admitted on all 
hands that the General Government has no 
powers but what are expressly granted by the 
Constitution, and that all rights not expressed 
were reserved by the several States. We have 
obtained a right to recover our slaves in what- 
ever part of America they may take refuge, 
which is a right we had not before. In short, 
considering all circumstances, we have made 
the best terms for the security of this species 
of property it was in our power to make. We 
would have made better if we could ; but, on 
the whole, I do not think them bad. — Pages 

C. Pinckney. Those who are acquainted 
with the Eastern States, the reason of their 
original migration, and their pursuits, habits, 
and principles, Avell know that they are essen- 
tially different from those of the Middle and 
Southern States; that they retain all those 
opinions respecting religion and government 
which first induced their ancestors to cross 

the Atlantic; and that they are, perhaps, more 
purely republican in habits and sentiment than 
any other part of the Union. The inhabitants 
of New York and the eastern part of New Jer- 
sey, originally Dutch settlements, seem to have 
altered less than might have been expected in 
the course of a century; indeed, the greatest 
part of New York may still be considered as a 
Dutch settlement — the people in the interior 
country generally using that language in their 
families, and having very little varied their 
ancient customs. Pennsylvania and Delaware 
are nearly one-half inhabited by Quakers, 
whose passive principles upon questions of 
Government, and rigid opinions in private, 
render them extremely different from the citi- 
zens either of the Eastern or Southern States. 
Maryland was originally a Roman Catholic 
colony, and a great number of their inhabit- 
ants, some of them the most wealthy and cul- 
tivated, are still of this persuasion; it is unne- 
cessary for me to state the striking difference 
in sentiment and habit which must always ex- 
ist between the Independents of the East, the 
Calvinists and Quakers of the Middle States, 
and the Roman Catholics of Maryland; but 
striking as this is, it is not to be compared 
with the difference that there is between the 
inhabitants of Northern and Southern States ; 
when I say Southern, I mean Maryland and 
the States to the southward of her; here we 
may truly observe that nature has drawn as 
strong marks of distinction in the habits and 
manners of the people as she has in her cli- 
mates and productions. The Southern citizen 
beholds with a kind of surprise the simple 
manners of the East, and is too often induced 
to entertain undeserved opinions of the appa- 
rent purity of the Quaker; while they, in their 
turn, seem concerned at what they term the 
extravagance and dissipation of their Southern 
friends, and reprobate, as an unpardonable 
moral and political evil, the dominion they 
hold over a part of the human race. Tlv& in- 
conveniences which too frequently attend these 
differences in habits and opinions among the 
citizens that compose the Union, are not a 
little increased by the variety of their State 
Governments ; for, as I have already observed, 
the Constitution or laws under which a people 
live never fail to have a powerful eff'ect upon 
their manners. We know that all the States 
have adhered in their forms to the republican 
principle, though they have differed widely in 
their opinions of the mode best calculated to 
preserve it. — Pages 386, 387. 

Boston Edition^ 1832. 

Under the mild treatment our slaves expe- 
rience, and their wholesome though coarse 
food, this blot in our country increases as fast 
or faster than the whites. During the Regal 
Government, we had at one time obtained a 
law, which imposed such a duty on the import- 
ation of slaves as amounted nearly to a pro- 



bibition, Avlicn one inconsiderate Assembly, 
placed under a peculiarity of circumstance, 
repealed the law. This repeal met a joyful 
sanction from the then sovereign, and no de- 
vices, no expedients, which could ever after be 
attempted by subsequent Assemblies — and they 
seldom met Avithout attempting them — could 
succeed in getting the royal assent to a renewal 
of the duty. In the very first session held un- 
der the Republican Government, the Assembly 
passed a law for the perpetual prohibition of 
the importation of slaves. This will, in some 
measure, stop the increase of this great politi- 
cal and moral evil, while the minds of our 
citizens may be ripening for a complete eman- 
cipation of human nature. — Page 93. 

Many of the laws which were in force during 
the monarchy, being relative merely to that 
form of Government, or inculcating principles 
inconsistent with republicanism, the first As- 
sembly which met after the establishment of 
the Commonwealth, appointed a committee* 
to revise the whole code — to reduce it into 
proper form and volume, and report it to the 
Assembly. This work has been executed by 
three gentlemen, and reported, but probably 
will not be talffjn up till a restoration of peace 
shall leave to the Legislature leisure to go 
through such a work. 

They proposed the following, among other 
alterations : 

To emancipate all slaves born after passing 
the act. The bill reported by the revisors 
does not itself contain this proposition, but an 
amendment containing it was prepared, to be 
offered to the Legislature whenever the bill 
should betaken up; and further directing that 
they should continue with their parents to a 
certain age, then be brought up, at the public 
expense, to tillage, arts, or sciences, according 
to their geniuses, till the females should be 
eighteen and the males twenty-one years of 
age, when they should be colonized to such 
place as the circumstances of the time should 
render most proper, sending them out with 
arms, implements of household and of the 
handicraft arts, seeds, pairs of the useful do- 
mestic animals, &c., to declare them a free and 
independent people, and extend to them our 
alliance and protection, till they have acquired 
strength ; and to send vessels at the same time 
to other parts of the world, for an equal num- 
ber of white inhabitants ; to induce whom to 
migrate hither, proper encouragements were to 
be proposed. It will probably be asked. Why 
not retain and incorporate the blacks into the 
State, and thus save the expense of supplying, 
by importation of white settlers, the vacancies 
they Avill leave? Deep-rooted prejudices en- 
tertained by the whites, ten thousand recol- 
lections by the blacks of the injuries they have 
sustained, new provocations, the real dis- 
tinctions Avhich nature has made, and many 
other circumstances, will divide us into par- 
ties, and produce convulsions, which will prob- 

*Thomas Jeffergon, George Wytlie, and Edmund 

ably never end but in the extermination of 
the one or the other race. — Pages 142 — 144. 

Whether further observation will or will not 
verify the conjecture, that nature has been less 
bountiful to them in the endowments of the 
head, I believe that in those of the heart she 
will be found to have done them justice. That 
disposition to theft with which they have been 
branded must be ascribed to their situation, 
and not to any depravity of the moral sense. 
The man in whose favor no laws of property 
exist, probably feels himself less bound to re- 
spect those made in favor of others. When 
arguing for ourselves, we lay it down as a fun- 
damental, that laws, to be just, must give a 
reciprocation of right; that, Avithout this, they 
are mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded 
in force, and not in conscience; and it is a 
problem which I give to the master to solve, 
whether the religious precepts against the 
violation of property were not framed for him 
as well as his slave? And whether the slave 
may not as justifiably lake a little from one 
who has taken all from him, as he may slay 
one who would slay him? That a change in 
the relations in which a man is placed should 
change his ideas of moral right or wrong, is 
neithet new nor peculiar to the color of the 
blacks. Homer tells it was so 2,600 years ago. 

'F.misu, ger t' aretes apoainutai euruopa Zous 
Haneros, eul' an min kola doulion ema elepiii. 

Odd. 17. 3i3. 
.Tove fix'd it certain, that whatever day 
Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away. 

But the slaves of which Homer speaks were 
whites. Notwithstanding these considerations, 
which must weaken their respect for the laws 
of property, we find among them numerous 
instances of the most rigid integrity, and as 
many as among their better-instructed mas- 
ters, of benevolence, gratitude, and unshaken 
fidelity. The opinion that they are inferior in 
the faculties of reason and imagination, must 
be hazarded with great diffidence. To justify 
a general conclusion, requires many observa- 
tions, even where the subject may be sub- 
mitted to the anatomical knife, to optical 
glasses, to analysis by fire or by solvents. 
How much more, then, where it is a faculty, 
not a substance, we are examining; where it 
eludes the research of all the senses; where 
the conditions of its existence are various, and 
variously combined; where the effects of those 
which are present or absent bid defiance to 
calculation. Let me add, too, as a circum- 
stance of great tenderness, where our conclu- 
sion would degrade a whole race of men from 
the rank in the scale of beings which their 
Creator may perhaps have given them. To 
our reproach it mtist be said, that though for 
a century and a half we have had under our 
eyes the races of black and red men, they have 
never yet been viewed by us as subjects of 
natural history. I advance it, therefore, as a 
suspicion only, that the blacks, whether origin- 
ally a distinct race, or made distinct by time 
and circumstances, are inferior to the whites 
in the endowments both of body and mind. 



It is not gainst experience to s ippose tliat 
different species of the same genus, or varieties 
of the same species, may possess different 
qualifications. Will not a lover of natural 
history, then — one who views the gradations 
in all the races of animals with the eye of 
philosophy — excuse an effort to keep those in 
the department of man as distinct as nature 
has formed them? This unfortunate differ- 
ence of color, and perhaps of faculty, is a 
powerful obstacle to the emancipation of these 
people. Many of their advocates, while they 
wish to vindicate the liberty of human nature, 
are anxious also to preserve its dignity and 
beauty. Some of these, embarrassed by the 
question, "What further is to be done with 
thom?" join themselves in opposition wath 
those who are actuated by sordid avarice only. 
Among the Romans, emancipation required 
but one effort. The slaves, when made free, 
might mix with, without staining, the blood of 
his master. But with us a second is necessary, 
unknown to history. When freed, he is to be 
removed beyond the reach of mixture. The 
revised code further proposes to proportion 
crimes and punishments. This is attempted 
on the following scale. — Pages 149 — 151. 

It is difficult to determine on the standard 
by which the manners of a nation may be tried, 
whether catholic or particular. It is more 
difficult for a native to bring to that standard 
the manners of his own nation, famili:irized to 
him by habit. There must doubtless be an 
unhappy influence on the manners of our peo- 
ple, produced by the existence of slavery among 
us. The whole commerce between master and 
slave is a perpetual exercise of the most bois- 
terous passions — the most unremitting despot- 
ism on the one part, and degrading submis- 
sions on the other. Our children see this, and 
learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative 
animal. This quality is the germ of all educa- 
tion in him. From his cradle to his grave, he 
is learning to do what he sees others do. If 
a parent could find no motive, either in his 
philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining 
the intemperance of passion towards his slave, 
it should always be a sufficient one that his 
child is present. But generally it is not suf- 
ficient. The parent storms, the child looks 
on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on 
the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, 
gives a loose rein to the worst of passions; 
and, thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised 
in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with 
odious peculiarities. The man must be a 
prodigy who can retain his manners and mor- 
als undepraved by such circumstances. And 
with what execration should the statesman be 
loaded, who, permitting one-half the citizens 
thus to trample on the rights of the other, 
transforms those into despots and these into 
enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, 
and the amor patrix of the other ; for if a slave 
can have a country in this world, it must be 
any other in preference to that in which he is 
born to live and labor for another; in which 
he must lock up the faculties of his nature, 

contribute, as far as depends on his individual 
endeavors, to the evanish ment of the human 
race, or entail his own miserable condition on 
the endless generations proceeding from him. 
With the morals of the people, their industry 
also is destroyed; for, in a warm climate, no 
man will labor for himself who can make an- 
other labor for him. This is so true, that of 
the proprietors of slaves a very small propor- 
tion, indeed, are ever seen to labor. And can 
the liberties of a nation be thought secure, 
when we have removed their only firm basis — 
a conviction in the minds of the people that 
these liberties are the gift of God? that they 
are not to be violated but with his wrath? In- 
deed, I tremble for my country when I reflect 
that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep 
forever ; that, considering numbers, nature, and 
natural means only, a revolution of the wheel 
of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among 
possible events ; that it may become probable 
by supernatural interference I The Almighty 
has no attribute which can take side with us 
in such a contest. But it is impossible to be 
temperate and to pursue this subject through 
the various considerations of policy, of morals, 
of history, natural and civil. We must be 
contented to hope they Avill force their way 
into every one's mind. I think a change al- 
ready perceptible, since the origin of the 
present Revolution. The spirit of the master 
is abating, that of the slave rising from the 
dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope 
preparing, under the auspices of Heaven, for a 
total emancipation; and that this is disposed, 
in the order of events, to be with the consent 
of the masters, rather than by their extirpa- 
tion.— Paye^ 169—171. 


Dravm up hy Mr. Jefferson in 1783. 
The General Assembly shall not have power 
to infringe this Constitution; to abridge the 
civil rights of any person on account of his 
religious belief; to restrain him from profess- 
ing and supporting 4hat belief, or to compel 
him to contributions, other than those he shall 
have personally stipulated, for the support of 
that or any other; to ordain death for any 
crime but treason or murder, or military of-- 
fences ; to pardon, or give a power of pardon- 
ing, persons duly convicted of treason or felo- 
ny, but, instead thereof, they may substitute 
one or two new trials, and no more ; to pass 
such laws for punishing actions done before 
the existence of such laws ; to pass any bill 
of attainder of treason or felony; to prescribe 
torture in any case whatever; nor to permit 
the introduction of any more slaves to reside 
in this State, or the continuance of slavery 
beyond the generation which shall be living 
on the thirty-first day of December, one thou- 
sand eight hundred — all persons born after 
that day being hereby declared free. — Page 




The first establishment in Virginia which 
became permanent Avas made in 1G07. I have 
found no mention of negroes in the colony 
nntil about 1650. The first brought here as 
slaves were by a Dutch ship ; after which, the 
English commenced the trade, and continued 
it until the revolutionary war. That sus- 
pended, ipso facto, their further importation 
for the present; and the business of the war 
pressing constantly on the Legislature, this 
subject was not acted on finally until the year 
1778, when I brought in a bill to prevent their 
further importation. This passed without op- 
position, and stopped the increase of the 
evil by importation, leaving to future efforts 
its final eradication. — Page 31. 

The bill on the subject of slaves was a mere 
digest of the existing laws respecting them, 
without any intimation of a plan for a future 
and general emancipation. It was thought 
better that this should be kept back, and at- 
tempted only by way of amendment, whenever 
the bill should be brought on. The principles 
of the amendment, however, were agreed on ; 
that is to say, the freedom of all born after a 
certain day, and deportation at a proper age. 
But it was found that the .public mind would 
not yet bear the proposition, nor will it bear 
it even at this day ; yet the day is not distant 
when it must bear and adopt it, or worse will 
follow. Nothing is more certainly written in 
the book of fate, than that these people are to 
be free; nor is it less certain that the two 
races, equally free, cannot live in the satne 
Government. Nature, habit, opinion, have 
drawn indelible lines of distinction between 
them. It is still in our power to direct the 
process of emancipation and deportation peace- 
ably, and in such slow degree as that the evil 
will wear off insensibly, and their phice be 
pari passu filled up by free white laborers. 
If, on the contrary, it is left to force itself on, 
human nature must shudder at the prospect 
held up. We should in vain look for an ex- 
ample in the Spanish deportation or deletion 
of the Moors. This precedent would fall far 
short of our case. — Pages 39, 40. 

To General Chastellux. 

Paris, June 1, 1785. 

Deau Sir: I have been honored with the re- 
ceipt of your letter of the 2d instant, and am 
to thank you, as I do sincerely, for the par- 
tiality with which you receive the copy of the 
Notes on my country. As I can answer for 
the facts therein reported on my own observa- 
tion, and have admitted none on the report of 
others, which were not supported by evidence 
sufficient to command my own assent, I am 
not afraid that you should make any extracts 
you please for the Journal de Physique, which 
come within their plan of publication. The 
strictures on slavery and on the Constitution 
of Virginia are not of that kind, and they are 
the parts which I do not wish to have made 
public, at least till I know whether their pub- 


lication Avould do most harm or good. It is 
possible that in my own country these strict- 
ures might produce an irritation which would 
indispose the people towards the two great 
objects I have in view — that is, the emancipa- 
tion of their slaves, and the settlement of their 
Constitution on a jfirmer and more permanent 
basis. If I learn from thence that they will 
not produce that effect, I have printed and 
reserved just copies enough to be able to give 
one to every young man at the college. It is 
to them I look — to the rising generation, and 
not to the one now in power — for these great 
reformations. — Page 228. 

To Dr. Price. 

Paris, August 7, 1785. 

Sir ; Your favor of July the 2d came duly 
to hand. The concern you therein express, as 
to the effect of your pamphlet in America, in- 
duces me to trouble you with some observa- 
tions on that subject. From my acquaintance 
with that country, I think I am able to judge, 
with some degree of certainty, of the manner 
in which it will have been received. South- 
Avard of the Chesapeake, it will find but few 
readers concurring with it in sentiment on the 
subject of slavery; from the mouth to the head 
of the Chesapeake, the bulk of the people will 
approve it in theory, and it will find a respecta- 
ble minority ready to adopt it in practice — a 
minority which, for weight and worth of char- 
acter, preponderates against the greater num- 
ber, who have not the courage to divest their 
families of a property which, however, keeps 
their consciences unquiet; northward of the 
Chesapeake, you may find, here and there, an 
opponent to your doctrine, as you may find, 
here and there, a robber and murderer; but in 
no great number. 

In that part of America, there being but 
few slaves, they can easily disencumber them- 
selves of them; and emancipation is put into 
such a train that in a few years there will be 
no slaves northward of Maryland. In Mary- 
land I do not find such a disposition to begin 
the redress of this enormity, as in Virginia. 
This is the next State to which we may turn 
our eyes for the interesting spectacle of justice 
in conflict with avarice and oppression — a con- 
flict wherein the sacred side is gaining daily 
recruits from the influx into oftice of young 
men grown and growing up. These have 
sucked in the principles of liberty, as it were, 
with their mothers' milk; and it is to them I 
look with anxiety to turn the fate of this ques- 
tion. Be not, therefore, discouraged. What 
you have written will do a great deal of good ; 
and could you still trouble yourself Avith our 
welfi^re, no man is more able to give aid to 
the laboring side. The college of William and 
Mary, in Williamsburg, since the remodelling 
of its plan, is the place where are collected 
together all the young men of Virginia, under 
preparation for public life. They are there 
under the direction (most of them) of a Mr. 
Wythe, one of the most virtuous of characters, 
and whose sentiments on the subject of slavery 



are unequivocal. I am satisfied, if you could I 
resolve to address an exhortation to those \ 
young men, with all that eloquence of which 
you are master, that its influence on the future 
decision of this important question would be 
great, perhaps decisive. Thus you see that, 
so far from thinking you have cause to repent 
of what you have done, I wish you to do more ; 
and wish it, on an assurance of its eflfect. The 
information I have received from America of 
the reception of your pamphlet in the different 
States, agrees with the expectations I had 
formed. Our country is getting into a ferment 
against yours, or rather has caught it from 
yours. God knows how this will end; but 
assuredly in one extreme or the other. There 
can be no medium between those who have 
loved so much. I think the decision is in 
your power as yet, but will not be so long. I 
pray you to be assured of the sincerity of the 
esteem and respect with which I have the 
honor to be, sir, your most obedient, humble j 
servant, Th. Jefferson. 

[Paffes 268, 269.] 

M. de Meusnier, where he mentions that the 
slave law has been passed in Virginia without 
the clause of emancipation, is pleased to men- 
tion that neither Mr. Wythe nor Mr. Jefferson 
was present, to make the proposition they had 
meditated; from which, people who do not 
give themselves the trouble to reflect or in- 
quire, might conclude, hastily, that their ab- 
sence was the cause why the proposition was 
not made, and, of course, that there were not 
in the Assembly persons of virtue and firmness 
enough to propose the clause for emancipation. 
This supposition would not be true. There 
were persons there who wanted neither the 
virtue to propose nor talents to enforce the prop- 
osition, had they seen that the disposition of the 
Legislature was ripe for it. These worthy 
characters would feel themselves wounded, de- 
graded, and discouraged, by this idea. Mr. 
Jefferson would therefore be obliged to M. de 
Meusnier to mention it in some such manner 
as this: "Of the two commissioners who had 
concerted the amendatory clause for the grad- 
ual emancipation of slaves, Mr. Wythe could 
not be present, he being a member of the judi- 
ciary department, and Mr. Jefferson was absent 
on tiie legation to France. But there were not 
wanting in that Assembly men of virtue enough 
to propose and talents to vindicate this clause. 
But they saw that the moment of doing it with 
success was not yet arrived, and that an un- 
successful effort, as too often happens, would 
only rivet still closer the chains of bondage, 
and retard the moment of delivery to this op- 
pressed description of men. What a stupen- 
dous, what an incomprehensible machine is 
man! who can endure toil, famine, stripes, 
imprisonment, and death itself, in vindication 
of his own liberty, and, the next moment, be 
deaf to all those motives whose power sup- 
ported him through his trial, and inflict on his 
fellow-men a bondage, one hour of which is 
fraught with more misery than ages of that 
which he rose in rebellion to oppose. But we 

must await, with patience, the workings of an 
overruling Providence, and hope that that is 
preparing the deliverance of these our suffer- 
ing brethren. When the measure of their 
tears shall be full, when their groans shall 
have involved heaven itself in darkness, doubt- 
less a God of Justice will awaken to their dis- 
tress, and, by diffusing light and liberality 
among their oppressors, or at length by his 
exterminating thunder, manifest his attention 
to the things of this world, and that they are 
not left to the guidance of a blind fatality. — 
Pages 427, 428. 

To Dr. Gordon. [Fztraci.'] 
Lord Cornwallis then proceeded to the Point 
of Fork, and encamped his army from thence 
all along the main James river, to a seat of 
mine, called Elk-hill, opposite to Elk island, 
and a little below the mouth of Byrd creek. 
(You will see all these places exactly laid down 
in the map annexed to my Notes on Virginia, 
printed by Stockdale.) He remained in this 
position ten days, his own headquarters being 
in my house at that place. I had time to re- 
move most of the effects out of the house. He 
destroyed all my growing crops of corn and 
tobacco ; he burne 1 all my barns, containing 
the same articles oi the last year, having first 
taken what corn he wanted; he used, as was 
to be expected, all my stock of cattle, sheep, 
and hogs, for the sustenance of his army, and 
carried off all the horses capable of service; of 
those too young for service he cut the throats ; 
and he burned all the fences on the plantation, 
so as to leave it an absolute waste. He car- 
ried off, also, about thirty slaves. Had this 
been to give them freedom, he would have 
done right ; but it was to consign them to in- 
evitable death from the small-pox and putrid 
fever, then raging in his camp. This I knew 
afterwards to be the fate of twenty-seven of 
them. I never had news of the remaining 
three, but presume they shared the same fate. 
When I say that Lord Cornwallis did all this, 
I do not mean that he carried about the torch 
in his own hands, but that it was all done 
under his eye — the situation of the house in 
which he was, commanding a view of every 
part of the plantation, so that he must have 
seen every fire. I relate these things on my 
own knowledge, in a great degree, as I was on 
the ground soon after he left it. He treated 
the rest of the neighborhood somewhat in the 
same style, but not with that spirit of total 
extermination with Avhich he seemed to rage 
over my possessions. Wherever he went, the 
dwelling-houses were plundered of everything 
which could be carried off. Lor I Cornwallis's 
character in England would forbid the belief 
that he shared in the plunder; but that his 
table was served with the plate thus pillaged 
from private houses, can be proved by many 
hundred eye-witnesses. From an estimate I 
made at that time, on the best information I 
could collect, I supposed the State of Virginia 
lost under Lord Cornwallis's hands, that year. 



about thirty thousand shaves ; and that of these, 
about twenty-seven thousand died of the small- 
pox and camp fever, and the rest were pp.rtly 
sent to the West Indies, and exchanged for 
rum, sugar, coffee, and fruit, and partly sent 
to New York, from whence they went, at the 
peace, either to Nova Scotia or England. 
From this last place I believe they have been 
lately sent to Africa. History will never re- 
late the horrors committed by the British ar- 
my in the Southern States of America. They 
raged in Virginia six months only — from the 
middle of April to the middle of October, 
1781 — when they were all taken prisoners; 
and I give you a faithful specimen of their 
transactions for ten days of that time, and on 
one spot only. Ex pede Herculcm. I suppose 
their whole devastations during those six 
months amounted to about three millions 
sterling. The copiousness of this subject has 
only left me space to assure you of the senti- 
ments of esteem and respect with which I am, 
sir, your most obedient, humble servant, 

\_Page 334.] Th. Jefferson. 

VOL. m. 
To John Jay. [^Extract.'] 

The emancipation of their [French] islands 
is an idea prevailing in tl e minds of several 
members of the National .Assembly, particu- 
larly those most enlightened and most liberal 
in their views. Such a step by this .country 
would lead to other emancipations or revolu- 
tions in the same quarter. — Page 21. 

To S. Kerchival. [^Extract.'] 

Since writing my letter of July the 12th, I 
have been told that, on the question of equal 
representation, our fellow-citizens in some 
sections of the State claim peremptorily a right 
of representation for their slaves. Principle 
■will, in this, as in most other cases, open the 
w^ay for us to correct conclusions. Were our 
State a pure democracy, in which all its in- 
habitants should meet together to transact all 
their business, there would yet be excluded 
from their deliberations — 1. Infants, until ar- 
rived at years of discretion. 2. Women, who, 
to prevent depravation of morals and ambi- 
guity of issue, could not mix promiscuously in 
the public meetings of men. 3. Slaves, from 
whom the unfortunate state of things with us 
takes away the rights of will and of property. 
Those, then, who have no will, could be per- 
mitted to exercise none in the popular assem- 
bly; and, of course, could delegate none to be 
an agent in a representative assembly. The 
business, in the first case, would be done by 
qualified citizens only; and in the second, by 
the representatives of qualified citizens only. 
It is true, that in the general Constitution, our 
State is allowed a larger representation on ac- 
count of its slaves. But every one knows that 
that Constitution was a matter of compromise; 
a capitulation between conflicting interests 
and opinions. In truth, the condition of dif- 
ferent descriptions of inhabitants in any coun- 

try is a matter of municipal arrangement, of 
Avhich no foreign country has a right to take 
notice. All its inhabitants are men, as to 
them. Thus, in the New England States, none 
have the powers of citizens but those whom 
they call freemen ; and none are freemen until 
admitted by a vote of the freemen of the town. 
Yet, in the General Government, these non- 
freemen are counted in their quantum of rep- 
resentation and taxation. So, slaves with us 
have no powers as citizens: yet, in represent- 
ation in the General Government, they count 
in the proportion of three to five ; and so also 
in taxation. Whether this is equal, is not 
here the question. It is a capitulation of dis- 
cordant sentiments and circumstances, and is 
obligatory on that ground. But this view 
shoAvs there is no inconsistency in claiming 
representation for them from the other States, 
and refusing it within our own. Accept the 
renewal of assurances of my respect. 

{^Page 295.] Thomas Jefferson. 

To William Short. [Extract.'] 

Although I had laid down as a law to my- 
self, never to write, talk, or even to think of 
politics, to know nothing of public affairs, and 
therefore had ceased to read newspapers, yet 
the Missouri question aroused and filled me 
with alarm. The old schism of Federal and 
Republican threatened nothing, because it ex- 
isted in every State, and united them together 
by the fraternism of party. But the coinci- 
dence of a marked principle, moral and politi- 
cal, with a geographical line, once conceived, 
I feared would never more be obliterated from 
the mind; that it would be recurring on every 
occasion, and renewing irritations, until it 
would kindle such mutual and mortal hatred, 
as to render separation preferable to eternal 
discord. I have been among the most san- 
guine in believing that our Union would be of 
long duration. I now doubt it much, and see 
the event at no great distance, and the direct 
consequence of this question; not by the line 
which has been so confidently counted on ; the 
laws of Nature control this ; but by the Poto- 
mac, Ohio, and Missouri, or, more probably, 
the Mississippi upwards to our Northern bound- 
ary. M}^ only comfort and confidence is, that 
I shall not live to see this; and I envy not the 
present generation the glory of throwing away 
the fruits of their fathers' sacrifices of life and 
fortune, and of rendering desperate the experi- 
ment which was to decide ultimately whether 
man is capable of self-government. This trea- 
son against human hope will signalize their 
epoch in future history, as the counterpart of 
the medal of their predecessors. — Page 322. 
To John Holmes, 
MoNTiCELLO, April 22, 1820. 

I thank you, dear sir, for the copy you have 
been so kind as to send me of the letter to 
your constituents on the Missouri question. 
It is a perfect justification to them. I had for 
a long time ceased to read newspapers, or pay 
any attention to public affairs, confident they 
were in good hands, and content to be a pas- 



senger hi our bark to the shore from which I 
am noi,st:uit. But this momentous question, 
like a lire-beii in the night, awakened and 
filled me with terror. I considered it at once 
as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, in- 
deed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve 
only, not a final sentence. A geographical 
line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral 
and political, once conceived and held up to 
the angry passions of men, will never be ob- j 
literated ; and every new irritation will mark it 
deeper and deeper. I can say, with conscious 
truth, that there is not a man on earth who 
would sacrifice more than I would to relieve 
us from this heavy reproach, in any practica- 
ble way. The cession of that kind of proper- 
ty, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle which 
would not cost me a second thought, if, in 
that way, a general emancipation and expa- 
triation could be effected ; and gradually, and 
■with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But 
as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we 
can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. 
Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation 
in the other. Of one thing I am certain, that 
as the passage of slaves from one State to an- 
other would not make a slave of a single hu- 
man being who would be so without it, so 
their diffusion over a greater surface would 
make them individually happier, and propor- 
tionally facilitate the accomplishment of their 
emancipation, by dividing the burden on a 
greater number of coadjutors. An abstinence, 
too, from this act of power, would remove the 
jealousy excited by the undertaking of Con- 
gress to regulate the condition of the different 
descriptions of men composing a State. This 
certainly is the exclusive right of every State, 
which nothing in the Constitution has taken 
from them, and given to the General Govern- 
ment. Could Congress, for example, say that 
the non-freemen of Connecticut shall be free- 
men, or that they shall not emigrate into any 
other State?— Pa^e 323. 

To J. Adams, \_Extract.'] 
Our anxieties in this quarter are all concen- 
trated in the question, what does the Holy 
Alliance in and out of Congress mean to do 
with us on the Missouri question ? And this, 
by the bye, is but the name of the case; it is 
only the John Doe or Richard Roe of the eject- 
ment. The real question, as seen in the States 
afflicted with the unfortunate population, is, 
are our slaves to be presented with freedom 
and a dagger? For if Congress has the power 
to regulate the conditions of the inhabitants 
of the States, within the States, it will be but 
another exercise of that power, to declare that 
all shall be free. Are we then to see again 
Athenian and Lacedemonian Confederacies? 
To wage another Peloponnesian war to settle 
the ascendency between them? Or is this the 
tocsin of merely a servile war? That remains 
to be seen ; but not, I hope, by you or me. 
Surely they will parley awhile, and give us 
time to get out of the way. What a Bedlamite 
is man! — Page 338. 

To M. de Lafayeiie. lExtracLl 
On the eclipse of Federalism with us, al- 
though not its extinction, its leaders got up 
the Missouri question, under the false front of 
lessening the measure of slavery, but with the 
real view of producing a geographical division 
of parties, which might insure them the next 
President. The people of the North went blind- 
fold into the snare, followed their leaders for 
a while with a zeal truly moral and laudable, 
until they became sensible that they were in- 
juring instead of aiding the real interests of 
the slaves, that they had been used merely as 
tools for electioneering purposes; and that 
trick of hypocrisy then fell as quickly as it 
had been got up. — Page 384. 

To Jared Sjmrks. 
MoNTiCELLO, February 4, 1824. 

Dear Sir: I duly received your favor of the 
13th, and with it the last number of the North 
American Review. This has anticipated the 
one I should receive in course, but have not 
yet received, under my subscription to the new 
series. The article on the African coloniza- 
tion of the people of color, to which you invite 
my attention, I have read with much consid- 
eration. It is, indeed, a fine one, and will do 
much good. I learn from it more, too, than I 
had before known, of the degree of success and 
promise of that colony. In the disposition of 
these unfortunate people, there are two rational 
objects to be distinctly kept in view. 1. The 
establishment of a colony on the coast of Afri- 
ca, which may introduce among the aborigines 
the arts of cultivated life, and the blessings of 
civilization and science. By doing this, we 
may make to them some retribution for tL3 
long course of injuries we have been commit- 
ting on their population. And considering 
that these blessings will descend to the naii 
natoru7n, et qui nasceniur ah illis^''^ Ave shall in 
the long run have rendered them perhaps more 
good than evil. To fulfil this object, the colo- 
ny of Sierra Leone promises well, and that of 
Mesurado adds to our prospect of success. 
Under this view, the Colonization Society is 
to be considered as a missionary society, hav- 
ing in view, however, objects more humane, 
more justifiable, and less aggressive on the 
peace of other nations, than the others of that 

The second object, and the most interesting 
to us, as coming home to our physical and 
moral characters, to our happiness and safety, 
is to provide an asylum, to which we can, by 
degrees, send the whole of that population 
from among us, and establish them under our 
patronage and protection, as a separate, free, 
and independent people, in some country and 
climate friendly to human life and happiness. 
That any place on the coast of Africa should 
answer the latter purpose, I have ever deemed 
entirely impossible. And without repeating 
the other arguments which have been urged 
by others, I will appeal to figures only, which 
admit of no controversy. I shall speak in 
round numbers, not absolutely accurate, yet 


not so -wide from truth as to vary the result 
materially. There are in the United States a 
million and a half of people of color in sla- 
very. To send off the whole of these at once, 
nobody conceives to be praciticable for us, or 
expedient for them. Let us take twenty-five 
years for its accomplishment, within which 
time they will be doubled. Their estimated 
value as property, in the first place, (for actual 
propei'ty has been lawfully vested in that form, 
and who can lawfully take it from the possess- 
ors?) at an average of two hundred dollars 
each, young and old, would amount to six 
hundred millions of dollars, which must be 
paid or lost by somebody. To this, add the 
cost of their transportation by land and sea 
to Mesurado, a year's provision of food and 
clothing, implements of husbandry and of their 
trades, which will amount to three hundred 
millions more, making thirty-six millions of 
dollars a year for twenty-five years, with in- 
surance of peace all that time, and it is impos- 
sible to look at the question a second time. I 
am aware that, at the end of about sixteen 
years, a gradual detraction from this sum will 
commence, from the gradual diminution of 
breeders, and go on during the remaining nine 
years. Calculate this deduction, and it is still 
impossible to look at the enterprise a second 

I do not say this to induce an inference 
that the getting rid of them is forever impos- 
sible ; for that is neither my opinion nor my 
hope; but only that it cannot be done in this 
way. There is, I think, a way in which it can 
be done — that is, by emancipating the after- 
born, leaving them, on due compensation, with 
their mothers, until their services are worth 
their maintenance, and then putting them to 
industrious occupations until a proper age 
for deportation. This was the result of my 
reflections on the subject five-and-forty years 
ago, and I have never yet been able to conceive 
any other practicable plan. It was sketched 
in the Notes on Virginia, under the fourteenth 
query. The estimated value of the new-born 
infant is so low, (say twelve dollars and fifty 
cents,) that it would probably be yielded by 
the owner gratis, and would thus reduce the 
six hundred millions of dollars — the first head 
of expense — to thirty-seven millions and a half ; 
leaving only the expenses of nourishment while 
with the mother, and of transportation. And 
from what fund are these expenses to be fur- 
nished ? Why not from that of the lands which 
have been ceded by the very States now need- 
ing this relief? — and ceded on no considera- 
tion, for the most part, but that of the general 
good of the whole. These cessions already 
constitute one-fourth of the States of the 
Union. It may be said that these lands have 
been sold, are now the property of the citizens 
composing those States, and the money long 
ago received and expended. But an equiva- 
lent of lands in the territories since acquired 
maybe appropriated to that object, or so much, 
at least, as may be sufficient; and the object, 
although more important to the slave States, 

is highly so to the others also. If they were 
serious in their arguments on the Missouri 
question. The slave States, too, if more in- 
terested, would also contribute more by their 
gratuitous liberation, thus taking on themselves 
alone the first and heaviest item of expense. 
In the plan sketched in the Notes on Virginia, 
no particular place of asylum was specified, 
because it was thought possible that, in the rev- 
olutionary state of America, then commenced, 
events might open to us some one within prac- 
ticable distance. This has now happened. St. 
Domingo has become independent, and with a 
population of that color only; and if the pub- 
lic papers are to be credited, their chief offers 
to pay their passage, to receive them as free 
citizens, and to provide them employment. 
This leaves, then, for the general Confederacy, 
no expense but of nurture with the mother a 
few years, and would call, of course, for a very 
moderate appropriation of the vacant lands. 
Suppose the whole annual increase to be of 
sixty thousand effective births ; fifty vessels, 
of four hundred tons burden each, constantly 
employed in tliat short run, Avould carr}^ off 
the increase of every year, and the old stock 
would die off in the ordinary course of nature, 
lessening from the commencement until its 
final disappearance. In this way, no violation 
of private right is proposed. Voluntary sur- 
renders would probably come in as fast as the 
means to be provided for their care would be 
competent to it. Looking at; my own State 
only — and I presume not to speak for the 
others — I verily believe that this surrender of 
property would not amount to more, annually, 
than half our present direct taxes, to be con- 
tinued fully about twenty or twent3--five years, 
and then gradually diminishing for as many 
more, until their final extinction; and even 
this half tax would not be paid in cash, but 
by the delivery of an object which they have 
never yet known or counted as part of their 
property; and those not possessing the object 
will be called on for nothing. I do not go 
into all the details of the burdens and benefits 
of this operation. And who could estimate 
its blessed effects? I leave this to those who 
will live to see their accomplishment, and to 
enjoy a beatitude forbidden to my age. But I 
leave it with this admonition, to rise and be 
doing. A million and a half are within their 
control; but six millions, (which a majority 
of those now living will see them attain,) and 
one million of these fighting men, will sav, 
"We will not go." 

I am aware that this subject involves some 
constitutional scruples; but a liberal construc- 
tion, justified by the object, may go far, and 
an amendment of the Constitution the whole 
length necessary. The separation of infiints 
from their mothers, too, would produce some 
scruples of humanity ; but this would be strain- 
ing at a gnat, and swallowing a camel. 

I am much pleased to see that you have 
taken up the subject of the duty on imported 
books. I hope a crusade will be kept up 
against it, until those in power shall become 



sensible of this stain on our legislation, and 
shall wipe it from their code, and from the re- 
membrance of man, if possible. 

I salute you with assurances of high respect 
and esteem. Tii. Jefferson. 

[Fage 388.] 

Extract from a letter, tcritten by Thomas Jeffer- 
son, addressed to Edward Coles. 

I had always hoped that the younger gener- 
ation, receiving their early impressions after 
the flame of liberty had been kindled in every 
breast, and had become, as it were, the vital 
spark of every American, that the generous 
temperament of youth, analogous to the mo- 
tion of their blood, and above the suggestions 
of avarice, would have sympathized with op- 
pression wherever found, and proved their love 
of liberty beyond their own share of it. 

But my intercourse with them, since my 
return, has not been sufficient to ascertain 
that they had made, towards this point, the 
progress I had hoped. Your solitary but wel- 
come voice is the first which has brought this 
sound to my ear; and I have considered the 
general silence which prevails on this subject 
as indicating an apathy unfavorable to every 
hope. Yet the hour of emancipation is ad- 
vancing, in the march of time. It will come; 
and, whether brought on by the generous en- 
ergies of our own minds, or by the bloody 
process of St. Domingo, excited and conducted 
by the power of our present enemy, if once 
stationed permanently within our country, 
and offering asylum and arms to the oppressed, 
is a leaf of our history not yet turned over. 

As to the method by which this difficult 
work is to be effected, if permitted to be done 
by ourselves, I have seen no proposition so ex- 
pedient, on the whole, as that of emancipation 
of those born after a given day, and of their 
education and expatriation at a proper age. 

I. am sensible of the partialities with which 
you have looked towards me, as the person 
who should undertake this salutary but ardu- 
ous work. But this, my dear sir, is like bid- 
ding old Priam to buckle the armor of Hector: 
" Trementibus aevo humeris et inutile ferrum cin- 
gitur.^^ No ; I have overlived the generation 
Avith which mutual labors and perils beget 
mutual confidence and influence. This enter- 
prise is for the young — for those who can fol- 
low it up, and bear it through to its consum- 

It shall have all my prayers, and these are 
the only weapons of an old man ; but, in the 
mean time, are you right in abandoning this 
property, and your country with it? I think 

My opinion has ever been, that -until more 
can be done for them, we should endeavor, 
with those whom fortune has thrown on our 
hands, to feed and clothe them well, protect 
them from ill usage, require such reasonable 
labor only as is performed by free men, and be 
led by no repugnances to abdicate them, and 
our duties to them. The laws do not permit 
us to turn them loose, if that were for their 

good; and to commute them for other proper- 
ty is to commit them to those whose usage to 
them we cannot control. I hope, then, my dear 
sir, you will reconcile yourself to your country 
and its unfortunate condition, and that you 
will not lessen its stock of sound disposition 
by withdrawing your proportion from the 
mass; that, on the contrary, you will come 
forward in the public councils, become the mis- 
sionary of the doctrine truly Christian, insinu- 
ate and inculcate it softly but steadily, through 
the medium of writing and conversation, asso- 
ciate others in .your labors, and when the 
phalanx is formed, bring on and press the 
proposition perseveringly until its accomplish- 
■ment. It is an encouraging observation, that 
no good measure was ever proposed, which, if 
duly pursued, failed to prevail in the end. We 
have proof of this, in the history of the en- 
deavors of the British Parliament to suppress 
that very trade which brought this evil on us. 
And you Avill be supported by the religious 
precept, "Be not weary in well-doing." That 
your success may be speedy and complete, as 
it will be of honorable and immortal consola- 
tion, I shall fervently and sincerely pray, as I 
assure you of my great friendship and respect. 

Thomas Jefferson. 

The people of North Carolina are justly proud 
of the fame of the wise and good Judge Gaston. 
He was distinguished alike for talents, attain- 
ments, and moral worth. They will therefore 
receive, with attention and respect, his warn- 
ing admonition upon the subject of slavery. 
In an address to the students of the University 
at Chapel Hill, in June, 1832, he used the fol- 
lowing language : 

On you, too, will devolve the duty, which 
has been too long neglected, but which can- 
not with impunity be neglected much longer, 
of providing for the migration and (is it too 
much to hope for in North Carolina?) for the 
ultimate extirpation of the worst evil that af- 
flicts the Southern part of our Confederacy. 
Full well do you know to what I refer; for on 
this subject there is, with all of us, a morbid 
sensitiveness which gives warning even of an 
approach to it. Disguise the truth as we may, 
and throw the blame where we will, it is sla- 
very which, more than any other cause, keeps 
us back in the career of improvement. It 
stifles industry and represses enterprise; it is 
fatal to economy and providence; it discour- 
ages skill, impairs our strength as a commu- 
nity, and poisons morals at the fountain head. 
How this evil is to be encountered, how sub- 
dued, is indeed a difficult and delicate in- 
quiry, which this is not the time to examine 
nor the occasion to discuss. I felt, however, 
that I could not discharge my duty without 
referring to this subject, as one which ought 
to engage the prudence, moderation, and firm- 
ness, of those who sooner or later, must act 
! decisively upon it. 




Thursday, February 11, 1*790. 

Mr. Fitzsimmons presented the address to 
the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the United States, of the people called Quakers, 
in their annual assembly convened; signed in 
and on behalf of the Yearly Meeting for Penn- 
sylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the west- 
ern parts of Maryland and Virginia, held by 
adjournments from the 28th day of the ninth 
month, to the 3d day of the tenth month, in- 
clusive, 1V89, by Nicholas Wain, clerk to the 
meeting this year. 

Mr. Lawrence also presented an address from 
the Society of Friends in the city of New York, 
in which they set forth their desire of co-ope- 
rating with their Southern brethren in their 
protest against the slave trade. 

Mr. Hartley, of Pa., moved to refer the ad- 
dress of the annual assembly of Friends, held 
at Philadelphia, to a committee. He thought 
it a mark of respect due to so numerous and 
repectable a part of the community. 

Mr, White, of Va., seconded the motion. 

Mr. Parker, of Ya. I hope, Mr. Speaker, 
the petition of these respectable persons will 
be attended to with all the readiness the im- 
portance of its objects demands; and I cannot 
help expressing the pleasure I feel in finding 
so considerable a part of the community at- 
tending to matters of such momentous concern 
to the future prosperity and happiness of the 
people of America. I think it mj duty, as a 
citizen of the Union, to espouse their cause ; 
and it is incumbent upon every member of this 
House to sift the subject Avell, and to ascertain 
what can be done to restrain a practice so ne- 
farious. The Constitution has authorized us 
to levy a tax upon the importation of such 
persons as the States shall authorize to be ad- 
mitted. I would willingly go to that extent; 
and if anything further can be devised to dis- 
countenance the trade, consistent with the 
terms of the Constitution, I shall cheerfully 
give it my assent and support. 

Mr. Madison, of Ya. The gentleman from 
Pennsylvania [Mr. Fitzsimmons] has put this 
question on its proper ground. If gentlemen 
do not mean to oppose the commitment to- 
morrow, they may as well acquiesce in it to- 
day; and I apprehend gentlemen need not be 
alarmed at any measure it is likely Congress 
will take ; because they will recollect that the 
Constitution secures to the individual States 
the right of admitting, if they think proper, 
the importation of slaves into their own terri- 
tory^ for eighteen years yet unexpired; sub- 
ject, however, to a tax, if Congress are dis- 
posed to impose it, of not more than ten dollars 
on each person. The petition, if I mistake 
not, speaks of artifices used by self-interested 
persons to carry on this trade; and the peti- 
tion from New York states a case that may 
require the consideration of Congress. If 
anything is within the Federal authority to 
restrain such violation of the rights of nations 
and of mankind as is supposed to be practiced 

in some parts of the United States, it will cer- 
tainly tend to the interest and honor of the 
community to attempt a remedy, and is a 
proper subject for our discussion. It may be 
that foreigners take the advantage of the lib- 
erty afforded them by the American trade, to 
employ our shipping in the slave trade between 
Africa and the West Indies, when they are re- 
strained from employing their own by restric- 
tive laws of their nation. If this is the case, 
is there any person of humanity that would 
not wish to prevent them? Another consid- 
eration why we should commit the petition is, 
that we may giA^e no ground of alarm by a 
serious opposition, as if we were about to take 
measures that were unconstitutional. — Far/es 
1182 to 1191. 

Friday, February 12, 1790. 
The following memorial of the Pennsylvania 
Society for promoting the Abolition of Sla- 
very, the relief of free negroes unlawfully held 
in bondage, and the improvement of the con- 
dition of the African race, was presented and 
read : 

The memorial respectfully showeth — 

That, from a regard for the happiness of 
mankind, an association was formed several 
years since, in this State, by a number of her 
citizens, of various religious denominations, 
for promoting the abolition of slavery, and for 
the relief of those unlawfully held in bondage. 
A just and acute conception of the true princi- 
ples of liberty, as it spread through the land, 
produced accessions to their numbers, many 
friends to their cause, and a legislative co- 
operation with their views, which, by the 
blessings of Divine Providence, have been 
successfully directed to the relieving from 
bondage a large number of their fellow crea- 
tures of the African race. They have also the 
satisfaction to observe, that in consequence 
of that spirit of philanthropy and genuine lib- 
erty which is generally diffusing its beneficial 
influence, similar institutions are forming, at 
home and abroad. 

That mankind are all formed by the same 
Almighty Being, alike objects of his care, and 
equally designed for the enjoyment of hajjpi- 
ness, the Christian religion teaches us to be- 
lieve, and the political creed of Americans 
fully coincides with the position. Your memo- 
rialists, particularly engaged in attending to 
the distresses arising from slavery, believe it 
their indispensable duty to present this sub- 
ject to your notice. They have observed, with 
real satisfaction, that many important and 
salutary powers are vested in you, for "pro- 
moting the welfare and securing the blessings 
of liberty to the people of the United States;" 
and as they conceive that these blessings 
ought rightfully to be administered, without 
distinction of color, to all descriptions of peo- 
ple, so they indulge themselves in the pleasing 
expectation that nothing which can be done for 
the relief of the unhappy objects of their care 
will be either omitted or delayed. 

From a persuasion that equal liberty was 



origin, li e poftion and is still the birth-] 
right i I "11. Mid influenced by the strong | 
ties 1 lid the principles of their j 

instina; .. /.morialists conceive them- 

selves i) )!iu I M i!:,e all justifiable endeavors 
to luuscu ihv i.;tii(Ks of slavery, and promote a 
general eiijoyuicut of the blessings of freedom. 
Under tht.\sc Impressions, they earnestly en- ! 
treat your .serious attention on the subject of 
slavery; that you will be pleased to counte- 
nance the restoration of liberty to those un- 
happy iiK'n, who alone, in this land of freedom, 
are degraded into perpetual bondage, and who, 
amidst the general joy of surrounding free- 
men, are L'r;;;niing in servile subjection; that 
you will (.i(;\;se means for removing this in- 
consisLciK^y ^:om the character of the Ameri- 
can people ; that you will promote mercy and 
justice towards this distressed race, and that 
you will step to the very verge of the power 
vested in you for discouraging every species 
of traffic in the persons of our fellow-men. 

Benj. Franklin, President. 
Philadelphia^ February 3, 1'790. 

Mr. Hartley then called up the memorial 
presented ye.^terday, from the annual meeting 
of Frimidh at Philadelphia, for a second read- 
ing; where ;i()on the same was read a second 
time, and luoveil to be committed. 

Mr. y, of Md., denied that there was 
aiiythnig uiieon.stitutional in the memorial; 
at least, if there was, it had escaped his atten- 
tion, and he should be obliged to the gentle- 
man to [xniit it out. Its only object was, that 
Congress should exercise their constitutional 
authority to abate the horrors of slavery, as 
far as they could ; indeed, he considered that 
all altercation on the subject of commitment 
was at an end, as the House had impliedly 
determined yesterday that it should be com- 

Mr. Page, of Ya., was in favor of the com- 
mitment. He hoped that the designs of the 
respectable memorialists would not be stopped 
at the threshold, in order to preclude a f;iir 
discussion of the prayer of the memorial. He 
observed that gentlemen had founded their 
arguments upon a misrepresentation; for the 
object of the memorial is not declared to be 
the total abolition of the slave trade, but that 
Congress will consider whether it be not in 
reality within their power to exercise justice 
and mercy, which, if adhered to, they cannot 
doubt, must produce the abolition of the slave 
ti'ade. If, then, the prayer contained nothing 
unconstitutional, he trusted the meritorious 
effort of the petitioners would not be frus- 

With respect to the alarm that was appre- 
hended, he conjectured there was none; but 
there might be just cause, if the memorial was 
not taken into consideration. He placed him- 
self in the case of a slave, and said that, on 
hearing that Congress had refused to listen to 
the decent suggestions of a respectable part of 
the community, he should infer that the Gen- 
eral Government (from which was expected 

great good would result to every class of citi- 
zens) had shut their ears against the \oice of 
humanity, and he should despair of any allevi- 
ation of the miseries he and his posterity had 
in prospect ; if anything could induce him to 
rebel, it must be a stroke like this, impressing 
on his mind all the horrors of despair. But 
if he was told that application was made in his 
behalf, and that -Congress was Avilling to hear 
what could be urged in favor of discouraging 
the practice of importing his fellow-wretches, 
he would trust in their justice and humanity, 
and wait the decision patiently. He presumed 
that these unfortunate people would reason in 
the same way; and he therefore conceived the 
most likely way to prevent danger was to com- 
mit the petition. He lived in a State which 
Lad the misfortune of having in her bosom a 
great number of slaves; he held many of them 
himself, and was as much interested in the 
business as any gentleman in South Carolina 
and Georgia ; yet if he was determined to hold 
them in eternal bondage, he should feel no 
uneasiness or alarm on account of the present 
measure, because he should rely upon the vir- 
tue of Congress, that they would not exercise 
any unconstitutional authority. 

Mr. Madison, of Va. The debate has taken 
a serious turn, and it will be owing to this 
alone if an alarm is created; for, had the 
memorial been treated in the usual way, it 
would have been considered, as a matter of 
course, and a report might have been made, 
so as to have given general satisfaction. If 
there was the slightest tendency, by the com- 
mitment, to break in upon the Constitution, 
he would object to it; but he did not see upon 
what ground such an event was to be appre- 
hended. The petition prayed, in general terms, 
for the interference of Congress, so far as they 
were constitutionally authorized; but even if 
its prayer was in some degree unconstitution- 
al, it might be committed, as was the case on 
Mr. Churchman's petition — one part of which 
was supposed to apply for an unconstitutional 
interference by the General Government. He 
admitted that Congress is restricted by the 
Constitution from taking measures to abolish 
the slave trade ; yet there are a variety of ways 
hy which it could countenance the abolition, and 
regulations might be made in relation to the in- 
troduction of them into the new States to be formed 
out of the Western Territory. He thought the 
object well worthy of consideration. 

The question on the commitment being 
about to be put, the yeas and nays were called 
for, and were as follows : 

Yeas — Messrs. Ames, Benson, Boudinot, 
Brown, Cadwalader, Clymer, Fitzsimmons, 
Floyd, Foster, Gale, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, 
Griffin, Grout, Hartley, Hathorn, Heister, Hun- 
tington, Lawrence, Lee, Leonard, Livermore, 
Madison, Moore, Muhlenburg, Page, Parker, 
Partridge, Rensselaer, Schureman, Scott, Sedg- 
wick, Seney, Sherman, Sinnickson, Smith of 
Maryland, Sturgis, Thatcher, Trumbull, Wads- 
worth, White, and Wynkoop — 43. 

Nays — Messrs. Baldwin, Bland, Burke, Coles, 



Huger, Jackson, Matthews, Sylvester, Smith 
of South Carolina, Stone, and Tucker — 11. 

The memorials were referred accordingly. 

\_Fa(/es 1197 to 1205, inclusive.^ 

Friday, March 5, 1T90. 

Mr. Foster, from the committee appointed 
for the purpose, made a report on the petitions 
of the people called Quakers, and also of the 
Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Aboli- 
tion of Slavery. — Page 1413. 

Monday, March 8, 1790. 

Mr. Hartley moved that the report of the 
committee on the memorials, of the people 
called Quakers should be taken up for a second 
reading; which motion being adopted, it was 
read, as follows, viz : 


That, from the nature of the matters con- 
tained in those memorials, they were induced 
to examine the powers vested in Congress, 
under the present Constitution, relating to 
the abolition of slavery, and are clearly of 
opinion — 

First. That the General Government is ex- 
pressly restrained from prohibiting the import- 
ation of such persons as any of the States now 
existing shall think proper to admit, until the 
year 1808. 

Secondly. That Congress, by a fair construc- 
tion of the Constitution, are equally restrained 
from interfering in the emancipation of slaves, 
who already are, or Avho may, within the period 
mentioned, be imported into or born within 
any of the said States. 

Thirdly. That Congress have no authority 
to interfere in the internal regulations of par- 
ticular States, relative to the instruction of 
slaves in the principles of morality and religion, 
to their comfortable clothing, accommodation, 
and subsistence; to the regulation of their 
marriages, and the prevention of the violation 
af the rights thereof, or to the separation of 
children from their parents; to a comfortable 
provision in the case of sickness, age, or infirm- 
ity, or to the seizure, transportation, or sale, 
of free negroes ; but have the fullest confidence 
in the wisdom and humanity of the Legisla- 
tures of the several States, that they will revise 
their laws, from time to time, when necessary, 
and promote the objects mentioned in the 
memorials, and every other measure that may 
tend to the happiness of slaves. 

Fourthly. That, nevertheless. Congress have 
authority, if they shall think it necessary, to 
lay, at any time, a tax or duty, not exceeding 
ten dollars for each person, of any description, 
the importation of whom shall be by any of 
the States admitted as aforesaid. 

Fifthly. That Congress have authority to in- 
terdict, or (so far as it is or may be carried on 
by citizens of the United States, for supplying 
foreigners) to regulate the African trade, and 
to make provision for the humane treatment 
of slaves, in all cases, Vhile on their passages 
to the United States or to foreign ports, as 

far as it respects the citizens of the United 

Sixthly. That Congress have also authority 
to prohibit foreigners from fitting out vessels 
in any part of the United States, for transport- 
ing persons from Africa to any foreign port. 

Seventhly. That the memorialists be in- 
formed that in all cases, to whith the authority 
of Congress extends, they will exercise it for 
the humane objects of the memorialists, so far 
as they can be promoted on the principles of 
justice, humanity, and good policy. 

\_Pages 1414 to 1417, inclusive.'] 

Wednesday, March 17, 1790. 
The House again resolved itself into a Com- 
mittee of the Whole on the report of the com- 
mittee to whom was referred the memorial of 
the people called Quakers, &c., (Mr. Benson in 
the chair.) 

The question of order was put, when it was 
determined that Mr. Tucker's last amendment 
was not in order. 

Tbe report was then taken up by paragraphs. 
The first proposition being read — 

Mr. White, of Va., moved that it be struck 
out. He did this, he said, because he was 
against entering into a consideration, at this 
time, of the powers of Congress. He thought 
it would be time enough for this, when the 
powers are called in question. He then read 
the next, which he said was entirely unneces- 
sary, as it contains nothing more than what is 
contained in express terms in the Constitution. 
He passed on to the third, which he said was 
equall}^ unnecessary; and to the fourth, which 
was provided for by the Constitution. He said . 
that he should agree to the fifth and sixth, 
Avith certain modifications. Agreeable to this 
idea, he offered those two in a diiferent form. 
He disagreed to the seventh proposition, as 
unnecessary and improper. He concluded by 
observing that his wish was to promote the 
happiness of all mankind, and, among the rest, 
those who are the objects of the present con- 
sideration ; but this he wished to do in con- 
formity to the principles of justice, and with a 
due regard to the peace and happiness of 
others. He would contribute all in his power 
to their comfort and well-being while in a 
state of slavery; but he was fully of opinion 
that Congress has no right to interfere in the 
business, any further than he proposed by the 
two propositions as modified. He did not, 
however, anticipate the difficulties from a total 
prohibition which some gentlemen seem to 
apprehend; and if Congress had it in their 
power to interdict this business at the present 
moment, he did not think the essential inter- 
ests of the Southern States would suffer. 
Twenty years ago, he supposed the idea he 
noAV suggested would have caused universal 
alarm. Virginia, however, about twelve years 
since, prohibited the importation of negroes 
j from Africa, and the consequences apprehended 
I never were realized; on the contrary, the agi'i- 
1 culture of that State was never in a more 
i flourishing situation. 



Friday, MARen 19, 1790. 

The House then went again into a Commit- 
tee on the Quakers' memorial, &c. (Mr, Benson 
in the chair.) 

The fourth proposition, respecting a duty of 
ten doUars on slaves imported, being read, it 
was moved that it be struck out; which mo- 
tion, after much debate, was adopted. 

Several modifications of the fifth proposition 
were offered, but the following, in substance, 
offered by Mr. Madison, was agreed to, viz: 
Congress have authority to restrain the citizens 
of the United States, who are concerned in 
the African trade, from supplying foreigners 
with slaves, and to provide for their humane 
treatment while on their passage to the United 

The Committee then rose, and the House 
adjourned till Monday next. — Page 1466. 

Monday, March 22, 1790. 

The House again went into a Committee of 
the Whole on the Quakers' memorial, &c. 
(Mr. Benson in the chair.) 

The sixth article was further discussed. 

Mr. Scott commenced the debate, advocating 
the prayer of the memorialists, and was re- 
plied to by several of the Southern members. — 
Page 1466. 

It vfas moved that the sixth article be struck 
out, but the motion was negatived. The Com- 
mittee then agreed to the proposition. The 
seventh article was, on motion, struck out. 

The Committee then rose, and made their 
report to the House, which was laid on the 
table.— Ptf^e 1471. 

Tuesday, March 23, 1790. 

It was then moved that the House should 
take up the report of the Committee of the 
Whole on the report of the committee to whom 
was referred the memorials of the people called 
Quakers, and of the Pennsylvania Society for 
Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. 

This motion was opposed by Mr, Jackson 
of Ga., Mr. Smith of S. C, Mr. Burke of Ga., 
and Mr, Bland. They severally observed that 
the discussion of the subject has already ex- 
cited a spirit of dissension among the members 
of the House, and that every principle of policy 
and concern for the dignity of the House, and 
the peace and tranquillity of the United States, 
concur to show the propriety of dropping the 
subject, and letting it sleep where it is. On 
the other hand, Mr. Vining of Del., Mr, Hart- 
ley of Pa., and Mr, Page of Va,, observed 
that there was the same propriety in taking 
up the subject at the present moment, and 
bringing it to a conclusion, as there was for 
first taking it up; that it has been so fully dis- 
cussed, it cannot be supposed gentlemen will 
go over the same ground again; it may soon 
be determined; to pass it over will be unpre- 
cedented, and will leave the public mind in the 
same state of uncertainty from wlijch so much 
danger i s apprehended. The motion for taking 
up the report was warmly contested in a 
lengthy debate, and finally passed in the af- 

firmative, by a majority of one. Whereupon, 
on motion that the said report of the commit- 
tee, and also the report of the Committee of 
the Whole House, of amendments to said re- 
port, be inserted on the Journal, it was resolved 
in the aflfirmative— 29 votes to 25. The yeas 
and nays were as follows: 

Those who voted in the affirmative were — 

Messrs. Boudinot, Brown, Cadwalader, Con- 
tee, Floyd, Foster, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, 
Griffin, Hartley, Hathorn, Heister, Huntington, 
Lawrence, Lee, Leonard, Madison, Muhlen- 
burg, Parker, Partridge, Schureman, Scott, 
Sedgwick, Sherman, Sylvester, Sinnickson, 
Vining, and Wynkoop. 

Those who voted in the negative were — 

Messrs. Ames, Baldwin, Benson, Bland, 
Burke, Carroll, Coles, Gale, Grout, Jackson, 
Livermore, Matthews, Moore, Page, Van Rens- 
selaer, Smith of Maryland, Smith of South 
Carolina, Stone, Sturges, Sumter, Thatcher, 
Trumbull, Tucker, White, and Williamson. 
Report of the Committee of the Whole House. 

The Committee of the Whole House, to whom 
was referred the report of the committee on 
memorials of the people called Quakers, and 
of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting 
the Abolition of Slavery, report the following 
amendments : 

Strike out the first clause, together with the 
recital thereto, and in lieu thereof insert, 
"That the migration or importation of such 
persons as an}^ of the States now existing shall 
think proper to admit, cannot be prohibited 
by Congress prior to the year one thousand 
eight hundred and eight." 

Strike out the second and third clauses, and 
in lieu thereof insert, "That Congress have 
no authority to interfere in the emancipation 
of slaves, or in the treatment of them within 
any of the States, it remaining with the sev- 
eral States alone to provide any regulations 
therein which humanity and true policy may 

Strike out the fourth and fifth clauses, and 
in lieu thereof insert, "That Congress have 
authority to restrain the citizens of the United 
States from carrying on the African trade, for 
the purpose of supplying foreigners with slaves, 
and of providing, by proper regulations, for 
the humane treatment, during their passage, 
of slaves imported by the said citizens into the 
States admitting such importation," 

Strike out the seventh clause, — Pages 1472 
to 1474, inclusive. 

Monday, January 20, 1794. 

Quakers' Memorial. 

A memorial was read, from the people called 
Quakers. The substance of this memorial is, 
to request that Congress would pass a law to 
prohibit the citizens of the United States from 
transporting slaves from the coast of Africa to 
the West India islands. 

The petition was read by the Speaker. 



Mr, Giles wished that it might be referred 
to a select committee. 

Mr. Bourne "wished that it should lie on the 
table for a day or two. He did not, by this, 
mean to oppose the principle of the memorial; 
but he understood that another of the same 
tenor was to be pi-esented to the Senate. He 
therefore wished that it might be deferred, till 
the House could see whether the Senate should 
take it up. If they did not, he should then 
move that it should be referred to a select 

The petition was ordered to lie on the ta- 
ble.— Pa^e 249. 

Tuesday, January 21, 1794. 
Ordered^ That the memorial of the people 
cPvlled Quakers, at their yearly meeting, held 
in Rhode Island, in the year 1793, which lay 
on the table, be referred to Mr. Trumbull, Mr. 
Ward, Mr. Giles, Mr. Talbot, and Mr. Grove; 
that they do examine the matter thereof, and 
report the same, with their opinion thereupon, 
to the House. — Page 253. 

Tuesday, January 28, 1794. 

A. memorial of the delegates from the several 
societies formed in different parts of the United 
States for promoting the abolition of slavery, 
in convention assembled, at Philadelphia, on 
the 1st instant, was presented to the House 
and read, praying that Congress may adopt 
such measures as may be the most effectual 
and expedient for the abolition of the slave 
trade. Also, a memorial of the Providence 
Society for abolishing the slave trade, to the 
same effect. 

Ordered^ That the said memorials be referred 
to Mr. Trumbull, Mr. Ward, Mr. Giles, Mr. Tal- 
bot, and Mr. Grove ; that they do examine the 
matter thereof, and report the same, with their 
opinion thereupon, to the House. — Page 349. 

Tuesday, February 11, 1794. 
Mr. Trumbull, from the committee to whom 
were referred the memorials of the people call- 
ed Quakers, at their yearly meeting, held in 
Rhode Island, in the year 1793, of the dele- 
gates from the several societies for promoting 
the abolition of slavery, in convention assem- 
bled, at Philadelphia, on the 1st day of Janu- 
ary last, and of the Providence Society for 
abolishing the slave trade, made a report; 
which was read, and ordered to be committed 
to a Committee of the Whole House on Mon- 
day next. — Page 448. 

Monday, February 17, 1794. 
The House resolved itself into a Committee 
of the Whole House, on the report of the com- 
mittee to whom were referred the memorials of 
the people called Quakers, at their yearly meet- 
ing, held in Rhode Island, in the year 1792; 
of the delegates from the several societies for 
promoting the abolition of slavery, in conven- 
tion assembled, at Philadelphia, on the 1st day 
of January last; and of the Providence Society 
for abolishing the slave trade; and, after some 

time spent therein, the' reported that 
the Committee had had the said report under 
consideration, and come to a resolution there- 
upon; which was twice read, and agreed to 
by the House, as follows : 

Resolved^ That a committee be appointed to 
prepare and bring in a bill or bills to prohibit 
the fitting out of any ship or vessel, in any 
port of the United States, either by citizens of 
the United States or foreigners, for the pur- 
pose of procuring, from any kingdom or coun- 
try, the inhabitants of such kingdom or coun- 
try, to be transported to any foreign parts or 
places of the world, to be sold or disposed of 
as slaves. 

Ordered, That Mr. Trumbull, Mr. Ward, Mr. 
Giles, Mr. Talbot, and Mr. Grove, be a com- 
mittee pursuant to the said resolution. — Page 

Friday, February 28, 1794. 
Mr. Trumbull, from the committee appointed, 
presented a bill to prohibit the carrying on 
the slave trade from the United States to any 
foreign place or country; which was read 
twice, and committed. — Page 469. 

Thursday, March 6, 1794. 

The House went into Committee of the 
Whole on the bill to prohibit the carrying on 
the slave trade from the ports of the United 
States — Mr. Boudinot in the chair. 

The two first sections of the bill were agreed 
to, with one alteration, moved by Mr. Trum- 
bull, Avhich was, to give the District Court, as 
well as the Circuit Courts, cognizance of the 

The third section — which relates to the 
penaltj', &c. — it was moved should be struck 

This motion was negatived. 

It was then moved to insert the word foreign 
before "ship orvessej;" which was agreed to. 

The Committee proceeded through the bill, 
which was reported to the House with sundry 
amendments. These were agreed to by the 
House, and the bill ordered to be engrossed 
for a third reading. — Page 483. 


The debate in the Virginia Legislature, at 
the session of 1831-32, on the subject of 
Emancipation, was occasioned b}^ the South- 
ampton insurrection, which occurred in the 
preceding August. The minds of the people 
were awakened by that event to the continual 
insecurity and danger of a state of society in 
which one half of the people are made the 
natural enemies of the other; and the press 
almost unanimously broke forth in condemna- 
tion of a system to which they justly traced 
the dilapidation and deca}^ of agriculture, the 
absence of arts, manufactures, and internal 
improvements, and the prevalent ignorance 
among the body of the people. The condition 
of Virginia was contrasted with that of the 
Xorthern States in these particulars, and her 



poverty and degeneracy demonstrated on the 
incontestable authority of official statistics. 
The debate occupied many consecutive days 
at the session, and must be regarded, by all 
who peruse it, as one of the ablest, and, owing 
to the vital importance of the subject, one of 
the most interesting that has ever occurred on 
the continent. The Virginian of the present 
day, who would bury in oblivion all recollec- 
tion of this debate, is untrue to the honor and 
renown of his country. Nowhere has genius 
and liberty been more closely allied than in 
the Old Dominion, It would be difficult to 
find one illustrious name in all her history, 
which is not identified with freedom in the 
broadest sense of the term ; while those who 
have signalized themselves as the champions 
of slavery are stars of a lesser magnitude. 

Foremost in the ranks of the Emancipation 
party was the distinguished editor of the Rich- 
mond Enquirer^ Thomas Ritchie, Esq., a gen- 
teman of high character, a cool, cautious, and 
wary politician, whose influence was, perhaps, 
at that time and subsequently, greater than 
that of any man in Virginia. Side by side 
with the Enquirer stood the Richmond Whig^ 
edited by the gallant and impetuous John 
Hampden Pleasants, a man of brilliant genius, 
who, for dashing and racy editorial writing, 
has never been excelled in this country. The 
press of Norfolk, Charlottesville, and other 
places, responded in manly strains to the Rich- 
mond papers : and I believe I shall not be in- 
vidious in saying that a majority of enlightened 
men in the State took a decided stand in favor 
of Emancipation. 

Among the most distinguished advocates of 
Emancipation, in the House of Delegates, were 

Mr. Moore of 'Rockbridge, Mr. Boiling of , 

Mr. Randolph of Albemarle, Mr. Rives of 
Campbell, General Brodnax of Dinwiddle, Mr, 
Powell, Mr. Faulkner, and Mr. Summers of 

From the Richmond Enquirer^ Jan. 7, 1832. 


It is probable, from what we hear, that the 
Committee on the Colored Population will re- 
port some plan for getting rid of the free peo- 
ple of color. But is this all that can be done? 
Are we forever to suffer the greatest evil which 
can scourge our land, not only to remain, but 
to increase in its dimensions? "We may shut 
' our eyes and avert our faces, if we please, 
' (writes an eloquent South Carolinian, on his 
' return from the North, a few weeks ago,) but 
' there it is, the dark and growing evil at our 
' doors; and meet the question we must, at no 
* distant day. God only knows what it is the 
' part of wise men to do on that momentous 
' and appalling subject. Of this I am very 
' sure, that the dilference — nothing short of 
' frightful— between all that exists on one side 
' of the Potomac and all on the other, is owing 
' to that cause alone. The disease is deep 
' seated — it is at the heart's core — it is con- 
' suming, and has all along been consumine-, 
' our vitals; and I could laugh— if I could laugh 

'■ on such a subject — at the ignorance and folly 
* of the politician who ascribes that to an act 
' of the Government which is the inevitable 
' effect of the eternal laws of Nature. What 
' is to be done? Oh! my God, 1 do not know, 
' but something must be done." 

Yes, something must be done, and it is the 
part of no honest man to deny it — of no free 
press to affect to conceal it. When this dark 
population is growing upon us; when every 
new census is but gathering its appalling 
numbers upon us ; when, within a period equal 
to that in which this Federal Constitution has 
been in existence, these numbers will increase 
to more than two millions within Virginia; 
when our sister States are closing their doora 
upon our blacks for sale, and when our whites 
are moving westwardly in greater numbers 
than we like to hear of; when this, the fairest 
land on all this continent, for soil, and climate, 
and situation, combined, might become a sort 
of garden spot, if it were worked by the hands 
of white men alone, can we, ought we, to sit 
quietly down, fold our arms, and say to each 
other, "Well, well, this thing will not come 
to the worst in our day; we will leave it to 
our children, and our grandchildren, and great- 
grandchildren, to take care of themselves, and 
to brave the storm." Is this to act like wise 
men? Heaven knows we are no fanatics — we 
detest the madness which actuated the Amies 
des Noirs; but something ought to be done. 
Means, sure but gradual, systematic but dis- 
creet, ought to be adopted, for reducing the 
mass of evil which is pressing upon the South, 
and will still more press upon her, the longer 
it is put off. AVe ought not to shut our eyes, 
nor avert our faces, and, though we speak al- 
most without a hope that the committee of the 
Legislature will do anything at the present 
session to meet this question, yet we say now, 
in the utmost sincerity of our hearts, that our 
wisest men cannot give too much of their at- 
tention to this subject, nor can they give it 
too soon. 

I shall give only a few extracts from the 
debate. It will be found in full in the Rich- 
mond Enquirer for 1832, in the State Depart- 

Mr. Moore, of Rockbridge, said: * * * 
Permit me, now, sir, to direct your attention 
to some of the evil consequences of slavery, 
by way of argument in favor of our maturely 
deliberating on the whole subject, and adopt- 
ing some efficient measures to remove the cause 
from which those evils spring. In the first 
place, I shall confine my remarks to such of 
those evils as affect the white population ex- 
clusively. And even in that point of view, I 
think that slavery, as it exists among us, may 
be regarded as the heaviest calamity which has 
ever befallen any portion of the human race. 
If we look back through the long course of 
time which has elapsed since the creation to 
the present moment, we shall scarcely be able 
to point out a people whose situation was not, 



in many respects, preferable to our own, and 
that of the other States in which negro slavery 
exists. True, sir, we shall see nations which 
have groaned under the yoke of despotism, for 
hundreds and thousands of years; but the in- 
dividuals composing those nations have en- 
joyed a degree of happiness, peace, and free- 
dom from apprehension, which the holders of 
slaves in this country can never know. ^ ^ ^ 
If, sir, we compare the face of the country in 
Virginia with that of the Northern States, we 
shall find the result greatly to the advantage 
of the latter. We shall see the Old Dominion, 
though blessed by nature with all the advan- 
tages of a mild climate, a fruitful soil, and fine 
navigable bays and rivers, generally declining 
in all that constitutes national wealth. In 
that part of the State below tide-water, the 
whole face of the country wears an appearance i 
of almost utter desolation, distressing to the 
beholder. Tall and thick forests of pines are 
everywhere to be seen encroaching upon the 
once cultivated fields, and casting a deep 
gloom over the land, which looks as if nature 
mourned over the misfortunes of man. 

Mr. Rives, of Campbell, said: * ^ * 
On the multiplied and desolating evils of sla- 
very he Avas not disposed to say much. The 
curse and deteriorating consequences were 
within the observation and experience of the 
members of the House and the people of Vir- 
ginia, and it did seem to him that there could 
not be two opinions about it. But there were 
strong objections to discussing this branch of 
the subject in its details, and he would content 
himself with giving a brief attention to the 
strange political effects produced by the exist- 
ence of this unnatural connection of master 
and slave, &c., &c. 

Mr. Powell said: -h- * * i can scarce- 
ly persuade myself that there is a solitary 
gentleman in this House who will not readi- 
ly admit that slavery is an evil, and that 
its removal, if practicable, is a consummation 
most devoutly to be wished. I have not heard, 
nor do I expect to hear, a voice raised in this 
Hall to the contrary. Sir, the gentleman from 
Buckingham a few days ago sketched to us, 
and sketched it, too, with a masterly hand, a 
picture of the withering and blighting effects 
of slavery. That picture is before this House, 
and I Avill not attempt to add to it a shade, or 
another tint; I will not, sir, lest, instead of 
adding to its effect, I might, with a less skill- 
ful hand, diminish it. Sir, Virginia, the much- 
loved, the venerated mother of us all, from 
being the first State in this great Confederacy, 
is now the third, possibly the fourth ; and her 
declining fortunes have long been the source 
of melancholy reflection to her patriotic sons. 
What, sir, is the cause of this decline? What- 
ever others may think, to my mind it is clear 
that the answer to this interrogatory is, her 
slave population. Hinc illx lachrymse. Here 
lies the source of all her misfortunes. This is 
the clog that has weighed her down, and pre- 
vented her onward march pari passu with her 
eister States, in their career of improvement. 

Mr. Preston said: * * * Sir, Mr. Jef- 
ferson, whose hand drew the preamble to the 
Bill of Rights, has eloquently remarked that 
we had invoked for ourselves"^ the benefit of a 
principle Avhich we had denied to others. He 
saw and felt that slaves, as men, were embraced 
within this principle. 

Mr. Summers, of Kanawha, -ss- * * gut, 
sir, the evils of this system cannot be enumer- 
ated. It were unnecessary to attempt it. 
They glare upon us at every step. When the 
owner looks to his wasted estate, he knows 
and feels them. When the statesman examines 
the condition of his country, and finds her 
moral influence gone, her physical strength 
diminished, her physical power waning, he 
sees and must confess them. They may be 
viewed, written on the nations's map. Con- 
trast the condition of the Southern States with 
that which those of the Northern and Middle 
present. Examine them in relation to general 
education, the state of their agriculture, man- 
ufactures, foreign and domestic commerce — 
you have here the problem worked out on a 
large scale. -J^ -x- * Sir, we should take 
courage from the goodness of the cause in 
v> hich we are engaged. It is one on which 
Heaven will smile. We shall not be left un- 
aided in our exertions. Slavery is a national 
calamity. Such it has been regarded by those 
who are entirely free from the evil. Nine of 
the non-slaveholding States have generously 
offered to the South the common treasury for 
the removal of this common evil. Such, too, 
was the purport of the resolutions submitted . 
to the Senate of the United States by Rufus 
King, at the close of his long and useful pub- 
lic life. 

Extract from the speech of John A. Chandler^ of 
Norfolk County. 

It is admitted by all who have addressed 
this House, that slavery is a curse, and an in- 
creasing one. That it has been destructive to 
the lives of our citizens, history, with unerring 
truth, will record. That its future increase 
will create commotion, cannot be doubted. 

The time, then, sir, has arrived, when the 
salus populi applies, and every consideration of 
patriotism requires us to act upon it. This 
principle — this fundamental principle, the safe- 
ty of the people — embraces not only the pres- 
ent race, but posterity also. The gentleman 
from Brunswick, with great force and elo- 
quence, has insisted that the master has prop- 
erty, not only in the female slave, but in the 
issue, ad infinitum. And, sir, we have an in- 
terest, not only in our own welfare, but in 
that of our posterity. We are bound to legis- 
late for them as well as for ourselves. 

This principle, that posterity are interested 
in the acts of their ancestors, is recognised in 
the Bill of Rights, in the very first section of 
it. That instrument is hallowed by its an- 
tiquity — by the double confirmation of the 
people of this Dominion. I may say, it is su- 
perior to the Constitution itself, as that pro- 
fesses to be based upon the Bill of Rights. 



What says that instrument? "That man 
has certain inalienable rights, of which, when 
he enters into society, he cannot by any com- 
pact deprive his poster iU/ ; namely, the enjoy- 
ment of life and liberty, with the means of 
acquiring and possessing property, and of pur- 
suing and obtaining happiness and safety." 
Has slavery interfered with our means of en- 
joying life, liberty, property, happiness, and 
safety? Look at Southampton. The answer 
is written in letters of blood, upon the floors 
of that unhappy county. Under these circum- 
stances, may we not inquire into the right of 
our ancestors to inflict this curse upon us, 
seeing that it has interfered so essentially with 
the first article of the Bill of Rights? 

But, sir, will this evil — this curse — not in- 
crease? Will not the life, liberty, prosperity, 
happiness, and safety, of those who may come 
after us be endangered, in a still greater de- 
gree, by it? How, then, can we reconcile it 
to ourselves, to fasten this upon them? Do 
we not endanger our very national existence, 
by entailing slavery upon them? 

Sir, the gentleman from Brunswick very 
emphatically asked, ''Are notour slaves our 
property?" And the gentleman from Dinwid- 
dle, sustaining his position, said, in that in- 
tegrity and firmness which characterizes all 
his actions, that he would own no property 
respecting which he was afraid to show his 
title papers. He even invited discussion upon 
w this question of title to slaves as property. As 
a Virginian^ I do not question the master's 
title to his slave; but I put it to the gentle- 
man, as a man, as a moral man, as a Christian 
man, whether he has not some doubt of his 
claim being as absolute and unqualified as that 
of other property? I do this, not for the pur- 
pose of raising an argument to sustain the 
power of the Legislature to remove them, 
which I think I have satisfactorily shown, but 
mainly to call his attention to the title, that 
if a doubt as to that should be created, it may 
operate in some measure in withdrawing op- 
position to the removal of the slaves. Let us, 
sir, in the investigation of ihis title, go back 
to its origin. Whence came the slaves into this 
country? From Africa. Were they free men 
there ? At one time they were. How came they 
to be converted into slaves? By the stratagem 
of Avar and the strong arm of the conqueror; 
they were vanquished in battle, sold by the 
victorious party to the slave trader, who 
brought them to our shores, and disposed of 
them to the planter of Virginia. Had the con- 
queror an absolute and unqualified right to them ? 

The gentleman from Campbell, [Mr. Daniel,] 
in arguing this part of the subject, stated that 
ancient authors insisted upon two modes by 
which a free man might become a slave, viz : 
by voluntary compact, and by conquest; but 
he was in the end compelled, by the course of 
his reasoning, to admit that those doctrines 
have been exploded by modern writers. If, 
then, liberty, rightfully, cannot be converted 
into slavery, may I not question whether the 
t-itle of the master to the slave is absolute and 

unqualified, and beyond the disposition of the 
Government? In general cases, the derivative 
title cannot be better than the primitive. If 
the warrior had no absolute right to the person 
of his captive, may there not be some doubt 
whether the Virginia planter has an unquali- 
fied one? 

What, sir, would be thought, at the present 
day, if an elephant were taken, by force or 
fraud, from its true owner, on the coast of 
Africa, and brought to our country, and an 
individual, knowing of the circumstance, were 
to purchase it — would it not be said that he 
participated in the crime? Would not the old 
adage, "that the receiver of stolen goods is as 
bad as the thief," apply? And, sir, is the rea- 
soning different when the subject is a human 
being — when a man has been taken, by force 
or fraud, from his native shore, and sold in 
your market? It maybe said that our ances- 
tors did not know the circumstances under 
which the slave lost his liberty. I hope they 
did not. It will, in some measure, extenuate 
the crime, but cannot enhance the title. The 
truth is, that our ancestors had no title to this 
property, and we have acquired it only by 
legislative enactments, sanctioned by the ne- 
cessity of the case. 

It may be argued, that length of time has 
created a title. Some thirty years ago, a frig- 
ate, which had been captured from the French 
by the valor and skill of our gallant tars, after 
having been brought into port, was refitted, 
and sailed on a cruise; she has never been 
heard of since. Imagine, for a moment, that 
it was now announced to this nation that the 
ship had foundered on the coast of Africa, and 
her crew, or part of them, were alive, slaves to 
some petty monarch in that country. Think 
you, sir, that w^e Avould listen to the plea of 
length of time? No; the voice of a mighty 
people, with re;sistless force, would proclaim 
that freemen can never be made slaves, and 
the hum of preparation to demand our long- 
lost brethren, w'ould soon resound throughout 
the land. And, sir, but for the degradation 
and absence of nationality in Africa, one of 
the most interesting principles of international 
law might be presented to the Am.erican peo- 
ple, which has ever engaged the attention of 
the statesman — a principle that would be ad- 
vocated by the good and wise throughout the 
Union. Were Africa erected into a sovereign 
and independent State, and recognised as a 
nation by the potentates of the world, to make 
a demand upon our Government for her long- 
lost and enslaved children, accompanied with a 
recital of all the circumstances of fraud by 
w^hich they were taken from their native coun- 
ivj, it would present a claim too strong to be 
discussed — a demand too just to be denied by 
the free-born sons of Virginia. These reflec- 
tions I have thrown out, Mr. Speaker, in the 
hope that, if masters of slaves should perceive 
some defect in their title, they may be inclined 
"to let them go." 

I have, ]\Ir. Speaker, entered into but few 
statistical details; the course of my argument, 



I trust, made it unnecessary. One estimate, 
however, I will mention ; it is this : that if the 
slave population increases as it has done for 
some years past, in the year 1880 — less than 
fifiy years hence — there will be, in the seven 
States of Virginia, North and South Carolina, 
Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, 
something more than 5,000,000 of slaves, of 
which Virginia alone will possess largely up- 
wards of 1,000,000 — an amount too great, too 
appalling, for a statesman not to apprehend 
some danger from. I acknowledge, 1 tremble 
for the fate of my country at some future day, 
" unless we do something ! " 

Extracts from the speech of Thomas J. Randolph^ 
of Albemarle. 

I will quote, in part, the statistics of the 
gentleman from Dinwiddle, whose accuracy 
cannot be questioned. Judging the future by 
the past, in forty years the colored poijula- 
tion in Eastern Virginia will exceed the white 
200,000. In the last forty years, the whites in 
the same district have increased 51 per cent., 
the blacks 186 per cent. Forty years ago, the 
whites exceeded the colored 25,000; the col- 
ored noAV exceeds the whites 81,000 — a net 
gain of the blacks over the whites, in forty 
years, of 106,000; and these results, too, du- 
ring an exportation of near 200,000 slaves 
since the year 1790 — now perhaps the fruitful 
progenitors of half a million in other States. 
By reference to Document No. 16, on your ta- 
ble, you will perceive that, in the year 1830. 
of that part of the population of ten years old 
and under, the blacks exceed the whites 26 
per cent. ; over that age, only 3 per cent. 
What a change will not eighteen years make 
for the worse, when those children shall be 
grown; what a change will not forty years, 
with its geometrical progression, evolve, when 
they shall become fathers and mothers, and 
some of them grandmothers? If exportation 
ceases, some of those now within the hearing 
of my voice may live to see the colored popu- 
lation of Virginia 2,000,000, or 2,500,000; 
children now born may live to see them 
3,000,000, determining their increase by their 
average increase in the United States in the 
last forty years. 

Sir, is not this the case of the salus poptdi, 
demonstrated to exist in the certain future? 
Who will be so hardy as to assert that, when 
the time arrives, a remedy can be applied? 
W^ho will say that 2,000,000 can be attempted 
to be removed? They will say to you, long 
before that, "We will not go." Here, sir, ap- 
plies that wise maxim of the law, " Venienii 
occurite morbo," (meet the coming ill.) 

The gentleman has spoken of the increase 
of the female slaves being a part of the profit. 
It is admitted ; but no great evil can be averted, 
no good attained, without some inconvenience. 
It may be questioned how far it is desirable 
to foster and encourage this branch of profit. 
It is a practice — and an increasing practice 
in parts of Virginia — to rear slaves for market. 
How can an honorable mind, a patriot, and a 

lover of his country, bear to see this ancient 
Dominion, rendered illustrious by the noble 
devotion and patriotism of her sons to the 
cause of Liberty, converted into one grand 
menagerie, where men are to be reared for 
market like oxen in the shambles? Is it bet- 
ter — is it not worse — than the slave trade — 
that trade which enlisted the labor of the good 
and the wise of every creed and every c4ime to 
abolish it? The trader receives the slave — a 
stranger in language, aspect, and manner — 
from the merchant, who has brought him from 
the interior. The ties of father, mother, hus- 
band, and child, have all been rent in twain. 
Before he receives him, his soul has become 

But here, sir, individuals, whom the master 
has known from infancy, with whom he 'has 
been sporting in the innocent gambols of 
childhood, who has been accustomed to look 
to him for protection, he tears from the moth- 
er's arms, and sells into a strange country, 
among strange people, subject to cruel task- 
masters. In my opinion, sir, it is much worse. 

He has compared slave property to a capital 
in money. I wish it were money, sir, or any- 
tliing else than Avhat it is. It is not money ; 
it is labor — it is the labor which produces that 
for which money is the representative. The 
interest on money is 4 to 6 per cent. The hire 
of male slaves is about 15 per cent, upon their 
value. In ten years, or less, you have returned 
your principal, with interest. Thus it is with 
much of the one hundred millions of property, 
the loss of which the gentleman has so elo- 
quently depicted in ruining the country. He 
has attempted to justify slavery here, because 
it exists in Africa, and has stated that it exists 
all over the world. Upon the same princijde, 
he could justify Mahometanism, with its plu- 
rality of wives, petty wars for plunder, rob- 
bery, and murder, or any other of the abomi- 
nations and enormities of savage tribes. Does 
slavery exist in any part of civilized Europe? 
N'o, sir, in no pari of it. America is the only 
civilized Christian nation that bears the op- 
probrium. In every other country, where 
civilization and Christianity have existed to- 
gether, they have erased it from their codes, 
they have blotted it from the page of their 

The gentleman has appealed to the Christian 
religion in justification of slavery. I would 
ask him upon what part of those pure doc- 
trines does he rely, to which of those sublime 
precepts does he advert, to sustain his posi- 
tion? Is it that which teaches charity, jus- 
tice, and good will to all ; or is it that which 
teaches, "that ye do unto others as ye would 
they should do unto you?" 

Extracts from the speech of Henri/ Berry, of Jef- 

Sir, I believe that no cancer on the physical 
body was ever more certain, steady, and fatal 
in its progress, than is the cancer on the po- 
litical body of the State of Virginia. It is eat- 
ing into her very vitals. And shall we admi 



that the evil is past remedy? Shall we act 
the part of a puny patient, suffering under the 
ravages of a fatal disease, who would say the 
remedy is too painful, the dose too nauseous, 
I cannot bear it; who would close his eyes in 
despair, and give himself up to death? No, 
sir; I would bear the knife and the cautery, 
for the sake of health. 

I believe it is high time that this subject 
should be discussed and considered by the 
people of Virginia. I believe that the people 
are awaktned on the subject, but not alarmed; 
I believe they will consider it calmly, and de- 
cide upon it correctly. Sir, I have no fears, 
now, for any general results from any efforts 
at incLirrcction, by this unfoitunatc class of 
our population. I know that we have the 
power to crash any such effort at a blow. I 
know that any such effort on their part, at 
this day, will end in the annihilation of all 
concerned in it; and I believe *our greatest 
security now, is in their knowledge of these 
things — in their knowledge of their own weak- 

Pass as severe laws as you will, to keep 
these unfortunate creatures in ignorance, it is 
vain, unless you can extinguish that spark of 
intellect which God has given them. Let any 
man who advocates slavery, examine the sys- 
tem of laws which we have adopted (from stern 
necessity, it may be said) towards these crea- 
tures, and he may shed a tear upon that; and 
would to God, sir, the memory of it might be 
blotted out forever. Sir, we have, as far as 
possible, closed every avenue by which light 
might enter their minds; we have only to go 
one step further to extinguish the capacity to 
Bee the light, and our work would be com- 
pleted; they would then be reduced to the 
level of the beasts of the field, and we should 
be safe; and I am not certain that we would 
not do it. if we could find out the necessary 
process — and that under the plea of necessity. 
But, sir, this is impossible. And can man be 
in the midst of freemen, and not know what 
freedom is? Can he feel that he has the power 
to assert his liberty, and will he not do it? 
Yes, sir; with the certainty of the current of 
time will he do it, whenever he has the power. 
Sir, to prove that the time will come, I need 
offer no other argument than that of arithme- 
tic, the conclusions from which are clear dem- 
onstrations on this subject. The data are 
before us all, and every man can work out the 
process for himself. Sir, a death-struggle 
must come between the two classes, in which 
the one or the other will be extinguished 
forever. Who can contemplate such a catas- 
trophe as even possible, and be indifferent? 

Extract from the speech of Thomas Blarshall^ of 

Wherefore, Ihen, object to slavery? Because 
it is ruinous to the whites — retards improve- 
ment, roots out an industrious population, 
banishes the yeomanry of the country, de- 
prives the spinner, the weaver, the smith, the 
shoemaker, the carpenter, of employment and 

support. The evil admits of no remedy. Tt 
is increasing, and will continue to increase, 
until the whole country will be inundated 
with one black wave, covering its whole ex- 
tent, with a few white faces here and there 
floating on the surface. The master^ has no 
capital but what is vested in liuraan flesh; the 
father, instead of being richer for his sons, is 
at a loss to provide for them. There is no 
diversity of occupations, no incentive to en- 
terprise. Labor of every species is disreputa- 
ble, because performed mostly by slaves. Our 
towns are stationary, our villages almost every- 
where declining ; and the general aspect of the 
country marks the curse of a wasteful, idle, 
reckless population, who have no interest in 
the soil, and care not how much it is impov- 
erished. Public improvements are neglected, 
and the entire continent does not present a 
region for which nature has done so much, 
and art so little. 

Extracts from the speech of James McDowell^ jr.^ 
of Rockbridge. 
Who, sir, that looks at this property as a 
legislator, and marks its effect upon the na- 
tional advance, but weeps over it as the worst 
of patrimonies? Who that looks to this un- 
happ3^ bondage of our unhappy people in the 
midst of our societ^^, and thinks oJf its inci- 
dents and its issues, but weeps over it as a 
curse upon him who inflicts as upon him who 
suffers it? 

If I am to judge from the tone of our debate, 
from the concessions on all hands expressed, 
there is not a man in this body — not one, per- 
haps, that is even represented here — who would 
not have thanked the generations that have 
gone before us, if, acting as public men, they 
had brought this bondage to a close — who 
would not have thanked them, if, acting as 
private men, on private notions, they had re- 
linquished the property which their mistaken 
kindness has devolved upon us. Proud as are 
the names, for intellect and patriotism, which 
enrich the volumes of our history, and rever- 
entially as we turn to them at this period of 
waning reputation, that name, that man, above 
all parallel, would have been the chief, who 
could have blotted out this curse from his 
country — those, above all others, would have 
received the homage of an eternal gratitude, 
who, casting away every suggestion of petty 
interest, had broken the yoke which in an evil 
hour had been imposed, and had translated, as 
a free man^ to another continent, the outcast 
and the wretched being who burdens ours with 
his presence, and defiles it with his crimes. 

But, sir, it has been otherwise appointed. 
Slavery has come down to us from our fathers ; 
and the question now is, shall we, in turn, 
hand it over to our children — hand it over to 
them, aggravated with every attribute of evil? 
Shall we perpetuate the calamity we deplore, 
and become to posterity the objects, not of 
kindness, but of cursing? 

Sir, you may place the slave where you 
please — you may dry up, to your utmost, the 



fountains of his feelings, the springs of his 
thought — 3'0ii may close upon his mind every 
avenue to knowledge, and cloud it over with 
artificial night — you may yoke him to your 
labor, as an ox which liveth only to work, 
and worketh only to live — you may put him 
under any process, which, without destroying 
his value as a slave, will debase and crush him 
as a rational being — you may do this, and the 
idea that he was born to be free will survive 
it all. It is allied to his hope of immortality — 
it is the ethereal part of his nature, which 
oppression cannot reach — it is a torch lit up 
in his soul by the hand of the Deity, and 
never meant to be extinguished by the hand 
of man. * -st * 

If gentlemen do not see nor feel the evil of 
slavery whilst this Federal Union lasts, they 
will see and feel it when it is gone ; they will 
see and suffer it then, in a magnitude of deso- 
lating power, to which the "pestilence that 
walketh at noonday" would be a blessing — to 
which the malaria that is now threatening ex- 
tinction to the "eternal city," as the proud one 
of the Pontiffs and the Caesars is called, would 
be as refreshing and as balmy as the first breath 
of spring to the chamber of disease. 

It has been frankly and unquestionably de- 
clared, from the very commencement of this 
debate, by the most decided enemies of aboli- 
tion_ themselves, as well as others, that this 
property is an "em7" — that it is a dangerous 
property. Yes, sir; so dangerous has it been 
represented to be, even by those who desire to 
retain it, that Ave have been reproached for 
speaking of it otherwise than in fireside whis- 
pers — reproached for entertaining debate upon 
it in this Hall; and the discussion of it with 
open doors, and to the general ear, has been 
charged upon us as a climax of rashness and 
folly, which threatens issues of calamity to 
our country. It is, then, a dangerous prop- 
erty. No one disguises the danger of this 
property — that it is inevitable, or that it is 
increasing. How, then, is the Government to 
avert it? By a precautionary and preventive 
legislation, or by permitting it to "grow Avith 
our growth" until it becomes intolerable, and 
then correcting it by the sword? In the one 
way or the other — by the peaceful process of 
legislation or the bloody one of the baj'onet — 
our personal and public security must be main- 
tained against the dangers of this property. 

[After meeting, in an impressive and digni- 
fied manner, the facetious remarks of another 
member of the House, who considered the in- 
surrection as a '•'•petty affair^'' and wished, by 
his wit, to turn the whole scene into ridicule, 
J. McDowell read a nrpnber of extracts from 
letters, written by and to the most distin- 
guished characters in the State, respecting the 
dismay and terror Avhich almost universally 
pervaded the minds of the citizens in every 
part of the State. He then proceeded:] 

Now, sir, I ask you — I ask gentlemen — in 
conscience to say, was this a '•'■petty affair?^^ 
I ask you whether that was a petty affair which 
startled the feelings of your whole population; 

which threw a portion of it into alarm — a por- 
tion of it into panic; which wrung out from 
au affrighted people the thrilling cry, day after 
day conveyed to your Executive, "We are in. 
peril of our lives, send us arms for defence." 
Was that a "petty affair," which drove families 
from their homes, which assembled women 
and children in crowds, and without shelter, 
at places of common refuge, in every condition 
of weakness and infirmity, under every suffer- 
ing which Avant and pain and terror could in- 
flict, yet Avilling to endure all — willing to meet 
death from famine, death from climate, death 
from hardships — preferring anything, rather, 
to the horrors of meeting it from a domestic 
assassin? Was that a "petty affair," which 
erected a peaceful and confiding portion of the 
State into a military camp ; Avhich outlawed 
from pity the unfortunate beings whose broth- 
ers had offended; which barred every door, 
penetrated every bosom with fear or suspicion; 
AA'hich so banished every scene of security from 
every man's dwelling, that, let a hoof or a horn 
but break upon the silence of the night, and 
an aching throb Avould be driven to the heart, 
the husband Avould look to his weapon, and 
the mother would shudder and weep upon her 
cradle ! 

Was it the fear of Nat Turner, and his de- 
luded drunken handful of fellows, which pro- 
duced, or could produce, such effects? Was it 
this that induced distant counties, where the 
very name of Southampton was strange, to arm 
and equip for a struggle? No, sir; it Avas the 
suspicion eternally attached to the slave him- 
self — the suspicion that a Nat Turner might 
be in every family; that the same bloody deed 
could be acted over at any time, and in any 
place; that the materials for it were spread 
through the land, and ahvays ready for a like 
explosion Nothing but the force of this 
AA'ithering apprehension — nothing but the par- 
alyzing and deadening weight Avith which it 
falls upon and prostrates the heart of every 
man Avho has helpless dependents to protect — 
nothing but this could have thrown a brave 
people into consternation, or could have made 
any portion of this powerful Commonwealth, 
for a single instant, to haA'e quailed and trem- 

This Commonwealth, in the late war, stood 
the shock of England's power, and the skill of 
England's veterans, with scarce a moment of 
public disquiet. Admiral Cockburn, with his 
incendiary spirit, and backed by his incendiary 
myrmidons, alarmed not the State — struck no 
fear into its private families ; and had his spirit 
been ten-fold more savage than it was, and his 
army an hundred-fold stronger, and had he 
plied every energy and pledged every faculty 
of his soul to the destruction of the State, he 
could not have produced one moment of that 
terror for priA'ate security which seizes upon all 
at the cry of insurrection. He Avould have been 
our enemy in the field, would have warred an 
open combat with the disciplined and the gal- 
lant of the land. But an insurgent enemy wars 
at the fireside, makes his battle-ground in the 



chamber, and seeks, at tlie hour of repose, for 
the life of the slumbering and the helpless. No 
wonder, sir, that the gentleman from Bruns- 
wick, [Mr. Gholson,] with his sensibilities 
aroused by the acts and the full energies of 
such an enemy as this, should have said that 
"they filled the mind with the most appalling 
apprehensions." * -sfr * 

Why, from the earliest period of our history 
to the massacre of Southampton, was a silence, 
deep and awful as that of death, observed upon 
this subject? Why was it forbidden in legis- 
lative debate or to the public press, and spoken 
only in mysterious whispers around the do- 
mestic hearth ? Because a sense of security re- 
quired, or was thought to require, this course. 
Why, sir, is this mystery now dispelled ? Why 
has the grave opened its "ponderous and mar- 
ble jaws?" Why is the subject openly and freely 
discussed, in every place and under every form ? 
Because a general sense of insecurity pervades 
the land, and our citizens are deeply impressed 
with the belief that something must be done. 
The numerous petitions and memorials which 
crowd your table furnish abundant evidence 
of this truth. They may mistake the remedy, 
but they indicate most clearly that some action 
is imperiously required at our hands — that the 
evil has attained a magnitude which demands 
all the skill and energy of prompt and able 
legislation. It is contended, on the other hand, 
that nothing efficient can be accomplished, and 
that any proceedings by this Legislature will { 
reduce the value of property, and endanger 
the security of the people. With respect to 
the first consideration, he would say that the 
price of property can never be injuriously af- 
fected by a system which would operate on 
that portion only of the slaves who belong to 
masters desirous to liberate them, or to sell 
them for their own benefit, at a reduced price. 
The effect, if any, upon the residue, must be 
to enhance their value. As to the other and 
more serious objection, he would remark that 
it constitutes and must forever constitute, an 
obstacle to abolition, requiring all the wisdom 
and discretion of Legislature and people; but 
the removal of free blacks, or the purchase and 
deportation of slaves, can involve no danger. 
If, indeed, the whole fabric shall totter to its 
fall, when touched by the gentlest hand, it 
must rest on a precarious foundation. If dan- 
ger lurks under just, benignant legislation, 
aiming to relieve both master and slave — to 
combine justice with humanity — will the pe- 
riod ever come when it will be safe to act? 

But, admitting the subject cannot be ap- 
proached without danger now, the great ques- 
tion for us to determine is, whether, by delay, 
it may not become fearfully worse, and in 
process of time attain a magnitude far trans- 
cending our feeble powers. We owe it to our 
children to determine whether we or they shall 
incur the hazard of attempting something. 
Gentlemen say, let things alone; the evil will 
correct itself. Sir, we may let things alone, 
but they will riot let us alone. We cannot 
correct the march of time, nor stop the cur- j 

rent of events. We cannot change the course 
of nature, nor prevent the silent but sure ope- 
ration of causes now at work. 

Extracts from the speech of Philip A. Boiling^ 
of Buckingham. 

The time will come — and it may be sooner 
than many are willing to believe — when this 
oppressed and degraded race cannot be held 
as they now are — when a change will be ef- 
fected, by means abhorrent, Mr. Speaker, to 
you, and to the feelings of every good man. 

The wounded adder will recoil, and sting 
the foot that tramples upon it. The day is 
fast approaching, when those who oppose all 
action upon this subject, and, instead of aid- 
ing in devising some feasible plan for freeing 
their country from an acknowledged curse, 
cry impossible" to every plan suggested, will 
curse their perverseness and lament their folly. 

Those gentlemen who hug slavery to their 
bosoms, and "roll it as a sweet morsel under 
their tongues/' have been very lavish in their 
denunciations of all who are for stirring one 
inch on this subject. 

There is, sir, a "still, small voice," which 
speaks to the heart of man in a tone too clear 
and distinct to be disregarded. It tells him 
that every system of slavery is based upon in- 
justice and oppression. If gentlemen dis- 
regard it now, and lull their consciences to 
sleep, they may be aroused to a sense of their 
I danger when it is too late to repair their 

However the employment of slave labor 
might be defended, gentlemen would not, could 
not, justify the traffic in human beings. High- 
minded men should disdain to hold their fel- 
' low-creatures as articles of traffic, disregard- 
ing all the ties of blood and afi'ection, tearing 
asunder all those sympathies dear to men — 
dividing husbands and wives, parents and 
children, as they would cut asunder a piece 
of cotton cloth. They have hearts and feel- 
ings like other men. How many a broken 
heart, how many a Rachel, mourns because 
her house is left unto her desolate! The time 
has come when these feelings could not be 
suppressed — the day would come when they 
could not be resisted. Slavery was, and had 
long been, offensive to the moral feelings of a 
large proportion of the community. Their 
lips had been sealed, but their minds had been 
unfettered; many had thought, and thought 
deeply, on the subject. This, sir, is a Chris- 
tian community. They read in their Bibles, 
"Z)o unto all men as you would have them do 
unto you;" and this golden rule and slavery 
are hard to reconcile. Gentlemen may, per- 
haps, curl the lip of scorn at such considera- 
tions ; but such a feeling existed in Virginia. 

Extracts from the speech of Mr. Brodnax, of 

That slavery in Virginia is an evil^ and a 
transcendent evil, it would be idle, and more 
than idle, for any human being to doubt or 
deny. It is a mildew which has blighted iu 



its course every region it has touched, from 
the creation of the world. Illustrations, from 
the history of other countries and other times, 
might be instructive and profitable, had we 
the time to review them ; but we have evi- 
dences tending to the same conviction nearer at 
hand, and accessible to daily observation, in 
the short histories of the different States in 
this great Confederacy, which are impressive 
in their admonitions and conclusive in their 
character. That Virginia — originally the first- 
rated State in the Union — the one which, in 
better days, led the councils and dictated the 
measures of the Federal Government, had been 
gradually razeed'to the condition of a third-rate 
State, and was destined soon to yield prece- 
dency to another, among the youngest of her 
daughters; that many of the finest portions, 
originally, of her territory, now (as was so 
glowingly depicted the other day) exhibited 
scenes of wide-spread desolation and decay; 
that many of her most valuable citizens are 
removing to other parts of the world — have 
certainly been attributed to a variety of causes. 
But who can doubt that it is principally slavery 
that is at the bottom of all — that this is the 
ijicuhus which paralyzes her energies and re- 
tards her every effort at advancement? I pre- 
sume' that everybody is prepared to admit and 
regret the existence of this evil, and that some- 
thing should be done to alleviate or extermi- 
nate it, if anything can be done, by means less 
injurious or dangerous than the evil itself. 
But, sir, it is on this point on which so much 
diversity of opinion exists among us. All 
would remove it, if they could. Some seem to 
think this immediately and directly attainable, 
while others conclude that it is a misfortune 
(not a crime, for we are not responsible for its 
introduction among us) which no effort can 
remove or reduce, and that we must content 
ourselves to submit to it forever, and avert 
our eyes from the consequences which are 
hereafter to follow. 

Believing, however, that there is an entire 
coincidence of public opinion on the prelim- 
inary question involved, I deem it useless to 
enter into a long abstract discussion of the 
origin of slavery, or the evil effects which re- 
sult from it. All will admit its extinction 
desirable, if attainable. 

Extracts from a speech of Hon. Chas. J. Faulkner, 
now a member of the House of Representatives, 
delivered in the Virginia House of Delegates, 
January 20th, 1832. 

Sir, there is one point in which I do most 
sincerely agree with those who are arrayed 
against me in this discussion. It is, that the 
proposed inquiry is one of great delicacy and 
of transcendent importance. I will go further, 
and say it is, in my judgment, the most mo- 
mentous subject of public interest which has 
ever occupied the deliberations of this body. 
Indeed, sir, (if I may be pardoned the extrav- 
agance of the expression,) I will say, notwith- 
standing the horror with which the inquiry is 
regarded by some gentlemen, it is the only 

subject which at this time, and under the pres- 
ent attitude of affairs in Virginia, is worthy of 
the serious gravity of legislation. When and 
upon what previous occasion did a question 
so grand, so all-pervading in its consequences, 
absorb the consideration of this House? The 
Revolution which agitated this Commonwealth 
fifty years ago, great and important as it was, 
involved in its results but a change of our po- 
litical relations with the mother country. This 
measure (should it prove successful, and that 
it must, sooner or later, no individual in this 
House can reasonably doubt) must involve in 
its consequences a moral, physical, and politi- 
cal revolution in this State — a revolution which 
will be beneficially felt by every great interest 
in the Commonwealth, and by every slavehold- 
ing State upon this continent. Sir, I care not 
what may be the feelings of other gentlemen, 
but I glory that it is given to me to participate 
in this measure. I shall ever reckon it among 
the proudest incidents of my life, that I have 
contributed my feeble aid to forward a revolu- 
tion so grand and patriotic in its results. But, 
sir, at the same time that I do accord with 
those gentlemen who have preceded me in this 
debate, on the opposite side of the question, in 
the all-absorbing magnitude of the topic under 
consideration, I cannot think, with them, that 
on that account it is not a fit subject of in- 
quiry. Its very importance appeals to us, and 
demands inquiry. Let that inquiry be cautious ; 
let it be deliberate; let it be guarded; above 
all, let it be conducted with a sacred regard 
to the rights of private property, so far at least 
as those rights can, upon an occasion of this 
sort, be legitimately recognised. But, still, let 
the inquiry go on. The people demand it — 
their safety requires it. Mystery in State af- 
fairs I have always considered impolitic and 
unwise. It is unsuited to the genius of this 
Government, which is b^sed upon the right of 
the people to a free and full examination of 
whatever concerns their interest and happi- 
ness. Sir, they pay you for your counsel — 
they have a right to it. If there be danger, 
let us know it, and prepare for the worst. If 
slavery can be eradicated, in God's name let 
us get rid of it. If it cannot, let that melan- 
choly fact be distinctly ascertained; and let 
those who we have been told are now awaiting 
with painful solicitude the result of your de- 
liberation, pack up their household goods, 
and find among the luxuriant forests and prai- 
ries of the West that security and repose which 
their native land does not afford. 

Again, sir, I ask, what new fact has occur- 
red — what new light has dawned upon the 
gentleman from Mecklenburg — that we should 
be called upon to retrace our course, and to 
disappoint the hopes which our first manly 
decision gave? Does not the same evil exist? 
Is it not increasing? Does not every day give 
it permanency and force? Is it not rising like 
a heavy and portentous cloud above the hori- 
zon, extending its deep and sable volumes 
athwart the sky, and gathering in its impene- 
trable folds the active materials of eleraertal 



war? And, yet, shall we be requested to close 
our eyes to the danger, and without an effort — 
without even an inquiry — to yield to the im- 
pulses of a dark and withering despair? Sir, 
is this manly legislation? Is it correct — is it 
HONEST — legislation? Is it acting with that 
fidelity to our constituents which their sacred 
interest requires ? 

Sir, if this evil, great as it is, was even sta- 
tionary — if the worthy gentleman from Meck- 
lenburg and Brunswick [Mr. Gholson] could 
give us any assurance that it would not in- 
crease until it reaches a point which it is hor- 
rible to contemplate — I might be induced to 
acquiesce in the course which their pathetic 
appeals suggest. But, when they know it is 
otherwise — when they know that each succes- 
sive billow is detracting from the small space 
of ground left between us and the angry ocean 
chafing at our feet — how can they advise us — 
how can they advise their own constituents — 
to remain still, when the next advancing wave 
may overwhelm them and us in hopeless ruin 
and desolation? 

Sir, if the gentleman from Mecklenburg was 
not satisfied when he submitted his resolution, 
he must now be convinced that this is one of 
those questions which no parliamentary adroit- 
ness can smother. The spirit of free inquiry 
is abroad upon the earth ; and Governments 
and all the institutions connected with them 
must be sustained, not by any mystical and 
superstitious reverence for them, as existing in- 
stitutions^ but as they are ascertained, after a 
severe and searching scrutiny, to subserve the 
great ends of popular weal. The same ques- 
tion which is now convulsing Europe to its 
centre — which is purifying that most gifted 
country from the despotism which has for so 
many centuries hung over it — is, in a some- 
what modified shape, operating upon the pres- 
ent inquiry. As with them, it is asked. Why 
have we so long tolerated the unequal and op- 
pressive institutions of our country? Why have 
we suffered ourselves to be ground into dust, 
that others may be pampered in luxury and 
ease? Of what use are crowns and hereditary 
aristocracies? Do they answer any great end 
of society? Do they conduce to the happiness 
of the PEOPLE? So with us the inquiry must 
be. Is slavery a beneficial institution? Is the 
prosperity of a nation promoted by nourishing 
within her bosom half a million of bondsmen, 
alien to her in interest, hostile to her in feel- 
ing, and prepared, at any favorable moment, 
to deluge the country in blood, and dance upon 
the ruins of Public Liberty? In other words. 
Are we better with or without slaves? It must 
come to that point at last. If slavery can be 
sustained as an institution conducive to the 
great interests of society, it will be tolerated; 
if not, it must bow before the majesty of that 
power which is supreme. But, sir, vain and 
idle is every effort to strangle this inquiry. As 
well might you attempt to chain the ocean, or 
stay the avenging thunderbolts of Heaven, as 
to drive the people from any inquiry which 
may result in their better condition. This is 

too deep, too engrossing a subject of consid- 
eration. It addresses itself too strongly to our 
interests, to our passions, and to our feelings. 
There is not a county, not a town, not a news- 
paper, not a fireside, in the State, where the 
subject is not fully and fearlessly canvassed ; 
and shall we, the constitutional inquest of the 
Commonwealth, sworn to make a true inquiry 
into all the grievances of the people, and to 
the best of our abilities apply the remedy, 
shall we alone be found to shrink from this 
inquiry? And here permit me to advert to a 
remark which fell (I am sure inadvertently) 
from the gentleman from Brunswick. Be- 
cause, forsooth, in asking this inquiry, we 
have chosen to depart from the folly of our 
ancestors, and to discuss this question — not 
with closed doors; not in low and breathless 
whispers; not with all the mummer}'^ of an 
Oriental Divan — we have been told that we 
are treating the subject "flippantly" — not as 
was done in the better days of the Common- 
wealth. If flippancy, sir, in the vocabulary 
of that gentleman, signifies a free and open 
discussion of that which concerns the people, 
and which they have a right to know, I plead 
guilty to this charge — most certainly not other- 

Sir, uniformity in political views, feelings, 
and interests, in all the parts of this widely- 
extended State, would, I admit, be extremely 
desirable. But that uniformity is purchased 
at too dear a rate, when the bold and intrepid 
forester of the West must yield to the slothful 
and degraded African, and those hills and val- 
leys which until now have re-echoed with the 
songs and industry of freemen shall have* be- 
come converted into desolation and barrenness 
by the withering footsteps of slavery. 

Sir, it is to avert any such possible conse- 
quence to my country, that I, one of the 
humblest, but not the least determined, of the 
Western delegation, have raised my voice for 
emancipation. Sir, tax our lands, vilify our 
country, carry the sword of extermination 
through our now defenceless villages; but 
spare us, I implore you, spare us the curse of 
slavery, that bitterest drop from the chalice 
of the destroying angel! 

Sir, we have lands, we have houses, we have 
property, and we are willing to pledge them 
all to any extent, to aid you in removing this 
evil. Yet, we will not that you shall extend 
to us the same evils under which you labor. 
We will not that you shall make our fair do- 
main the receptacle of your mass of political 
filth and corruption. No, sir; before we can 
submit to such terms, violent convulsions 
must agitate this State. 

The gentleman from Brunswick and tb gen- 
tleman from Dinwiddle hold their slaves, ^ot 
by any law of nature, not by any patent from 
God, as the latter gentleman on yesterday as- 
sumed, but solely by virtue of the acquiescence 
and consent of the society in which they live. 

But, sir, it is said that society having con- 
ferred this property on the slaveholder, it can- 
not now take it from him without an adequate 



compensation, bj which is meant full value. 
I may be singular in the opinion, but I defy 
the legal research of the House to point me to 
a principle recognised by the law, even in the 
ordinary course of its adjudications, where the 
community pays for property which is removed 
or destroyed because it is a nuisance, and found 
injurious to that society. There is, I humbly 
apprehend, no such principle. There is no 
obligation upon society to continue your right 
one moment after it becomes injurious to the 
best interests of society; nor to compensate 
you for the loss of that, the deprivation of 
which is demanded by the safety of the State, 
and in which general benefit you participate 
as members of the community. Sir, there is 
to my mind a manifest distinction between 
condemning private property to be applied to 
some beneficial public purpose, and condemn- 
ing or removing private property which is as- 
certained to be a positive wrong to society. 
It is a distinction which pervades the whole 
genius of the law; and is founded upon the 
idea, that any man who holds property injuri- 
ous to the peace of that society of which he is 
a member, thereby violates the condition upon 
the observance of which his right to the prop- 
erty is alone guarantied. For property of the 
first class condemned, there ought to be com- 
pensation ; but for property of the latter class, 
none can be demanded upon principle, none 
accorded as a matter of right, although con- 
siderations of policy, considerations of human- 
ity, and a spirit of compromise, may dictate 
some compensation. 

Sir, does not that plan of emancipation which 
proposes freedom at a future period, and which 
guaranties to the slaveholder the present enjoy- 
ment and profit of that most pernicious species 
of property, contain within itself a principle 
of compensation — a fair and just proposition 
of compromise? I think it does, and I exhibit 
my views thus: It is conceded that, at this 
precise moment of our legislation, slaves are 
injurious to the interests and threaten the sub- 
version and ruin of this Commonwealth. Their 
present number, their increasing number, all 
admonish us of this. In different terms, and 
in more measured language, the same fact has 
been conceded by all who have yet addressed 
this House. '■^Something must be done^'' em- 
phatically exclaimed the gentleman from Din- 
widdle; and I thought I could perceive a re- 
sponse to that declaration, in the countenance 
of a large majority of this body. And why must 
something be done? Because if not, says the 
gentleman from Campbell, [Mr. Rives,] the 
throats of all the white people of Virginia will 
be cut. No, says the gentleman from Dinwid- 
dle — "The whites cannot be conquered — the 
throats of the blacks will be cut." It is a tri- 
fling difference, to be sure, sir, and matters 
not to the argument. For the fact is conceded, 
that one race or the other must be extermi- 

Sir, such being the actual condition of this 
Commonwealth, I ask if we would not be justi- 
fied now, supposing all considerations of policy 

' and humanity concurred, without even a mo- 
ment's delay, in staving off this appalling and 
overwhelming calamity? Sir, if this immense 
negro population were now in arms, gathering 
into black and formidable masses of attack, 
would that man be listened to, who spoke 
about property, who prayed you not to direct 
your artillery to such or such a point, for you 
would destroy some of his property? Sir, to 
the eye of the statesman, as to the eye of Om- 
niscience, dangers pressing, and dangers that 
must necessarily press, are alike present. "With 
a single glance he embraces Virginia now, with 
the elements of destruction reposing quietly 
upon her bosom, and Virginia lighted from 
one extremity to the other with the torch of 
servile insurrection and massacre. It is not 
sufficient for him that the match is not yet ap- 
plied. It is enough that the magazine is open, 
and the match will shortly be applied. 

Sir, it is true in national as it is in private 
contracts, that loss and injury to one party may 
constitute as fair a consideration as gain to 
the other. Does the slaveholder, while he is 
enjoying his slaves, reflect upon the deep in- 
jury and incalculable loss which the possession 
of that property inflicts upon the true interests 
of the country? And does he not perceive that 
society, in tolerating that evil, say for thirty 
years longer, for his benefit, is, in the shape of 
injury to herself and benefit to him, giving 
him a full and adequate compensation? It is 
the only compensation which, so help me God! 
as a slaveholder, I will ever accept from the 
Commonwealth of Virginia. It is the only 
compensation which, as a lawgiver, I will ever 
dispense to others. 

Sir, it is, in my judgment, the true and proper 
ground of compromise between the slavehold- 
ing and anti-slaveholding interests of this Com- 
monwealth ; and by anti-slaveholding interest 
here, I mean to comprehend every interest, ex- 
cept that mere pecuniary interest which the 
master has in the property of his slave. Sla- 
very, it is admitted, is an evil — it is an insti- 
tution which presses heavily against the best 
interests of the State. It banishes free white 
labor, it exterminates the mechanic, the artisan, 
the manufacturer. It deprives them of occu- 
pation. It deprives them of bread. It converts 
the energy of a community into indolence, its 
poAver into imbecility, its efficiency into weak- 
ness. Sir, being thus injurious, have we not 
aright to demand its extermination? Shall 
society suffer, that the slaveholder may con- 
tinue to gather his crop of human flesh ? What 
is his mere pecuniary claim, compared with 
the great interests of the common weal ? Must 
the country languish, droop, die, that the slave- 
holder may flourish? Shall all interests be 
subservient to one — all rights subordinate to 
those of the slaveholder? Has not the me- 
chanic, have not the middle classes their 
rights — rights incompatible with the existence 
of slavery? 

Sir, so great and overshadowing are the 
evils of slavery — so sensibly are they felt by 
those who have traced the causes of our na- 



tional decline — so perceptible is the poisonous 
operation of its principles in the varied and 
diversified interests of this Commonwealth, 
that all, whose minds are not warped by pre- 
judice or interest, must admit that the disease 
has now assumed that mortal tendency, as to 
justify the application of any remedy which, 
under the great law of State necessity, we 
might consider advisable. 

Sir, I am gratified to perceive that no gen- 
tleman has yet risen in this Hall, the avowed 
advocate of slavery. The day has gone by 
when such a voice could be listened to with 
patience, or even with forbearance. I even 
regret, sir, that we should find those amongst 
us who enter the lists of discussion as its 
apologists, except alone upon the ground of 
uncontrollable necessit}'. And yet, w^ho could 
have listened to the very eloquent remarks of 
the gentleman from Brunswick, without being 
forced to conclude that he at least considered 
slavery, however not be defended upon prin- 
ciple, yet as being divested of much of its 
enormity, as you approach it in practice? 

Sir, if there be one who concurs with that j 
gentleman in the harmless character of this 
institution, let me request him to compare the 
condition of the slaveholding portion of this 
Commonwealth — barren, desolate, and seared 
as it were by the avenging hand of Heaven — 
with the descriptions which we have of this 
same country from those who first broke its 
virgin soil. To what is this change ascriba- 
ble? Alone to the withering and blasting 
effects of slavery. If this does not satisfy him, 
let me request him to extend his travels to the 
Northern States of this Union, and beg him to 
contrast the happiness and contentment which 
prevail throughout that country, the busy and 
cheerful sound of industry, the rapid and swell- 
ing growth of their population, their means 
and institutions of education, their skill and 
proficiency in the useful arts, their enterprise 
and public spirit, the monuments of their com- 
mercial and manufacturing industry; and, 
above all, their devoted attachment to the 
Government from which they derive their pro- 
tection — with the division, discontent, indo- 
lence, and poverty, of the Southern country. 
To what, sir, is all this ascribable? To that 
voice in the organization of society, by which 
one-half of its inhabitants are arrayed in in- 
terest and feeling against the other half — to 
that unfortunate state of society in which free- 
men regard labor as disgraceful, and slaves 
shrink from it as a burden tyrannically imposed 
upon them — "to that condition of things in 
which half a million of your population can 
feel no sympathy with the society in the pros- 
perity of which they are forbidden to partici- 
pate, and no attachment to a Government 
at whose hands they receive nothing but in- 

If this should not be sufficient, and the cu- 
rious and incredulous inquirer should suggest 
that the contrast which has been adverted to, 
a-ud which is so manifest, might be traced to 
a difference of climate, or other causes distinct 

from slavery itself, permit me to refer him to 
the two States of Kentucky and Ohio. No differ- 
ence of soil, no diversity of climate, no diver- 
sity in the original settlement of those two 
States, can account for the remarkable dispro- 
portion in their natural advancement. Sepa- 
rated by a river alone, they seem to have been 
purposely and providentially designed to ex- 
hibit in their future histories the difference 
which necessarily results from a country free 
from, and a country afflicted with, the curse 
of slavery. The same may be said of the two 
States of Missouri and Illinois. 

Sir, if still he should hesitate in the appre- 
hension of this important political truth, that 
slavery is a curse, which no local advantages 
can counterbalance, let me invite him back 
again to his native State, and point to the 
tragedy of Southampton. There, sir, undis- 
guised and clear to the vision of all men, are 
the evils of slavery, written in blood. There 
may be seen a practical commentary upon that 
institution, as it actually exists among us. The 
gentleman from Dinwiddle has called it a "pet- 
ty affair." It does not appear so to me. The 
more I reflect upon it, the more am I convinced 
that it is an important, a most momentous 
affair. Sixty-one white native inhabitants of 
Virginia, in a few hours, in the face of day, in 
a county as well protected as most of the coun- 
ties east of the Blue Ridge, attacked, butchered, 
mangled, in a style of which the records of 
atrocity can scarcely furnisli a parallel. This 
a petty affair? Sir, it may suit the modesty 
of those whose valor and energy suppressed 
that insurrection, to underrate its importance; 
but to the statesman, who knows that like 
causes will produce like effects, it must appear 
fraught with useful and important instruction. 
Let it not be said that these insurrections 
rarely occur, and that a similar one may not 
take place for half a century to come. To 
us, no more than to the murdered citizens of 
Southampton, is it given to know the day and 
the hour. It is sufficient that sncii an evil 
may occur; and that no vigilance of your po- 
lice can prevent its recurrence. 

Sir, the evils of slavery stand confessed be- 
fore us. The only question with a Virginia 
statesman should be. Is there any remedy, and 
Avhat shall that remedy be? The gentleman 
from Albemarle has exhibited one scheme, the 
gentleman from Dinwiddle has presented an- 
other. Other and perhaps less-exceptionable 
projects will be submitted, as soon as it is un- 
derstood that we are disposed to apply some 
remedy. The only question now before us is, 
Shall we be permitted to make the inquiry? 
Shall we be allowed to prosecute our investi- 
gations in the select committee? Let us mani- 
fest the wull — the means Avill assuredly follow. 
I never could despair, sir, in a cause so just as 
this. I never could despair of accomplishing 
that which eight States — although, it is true, 
under more favorable circumstances — have al- 
ready accomplished. I never could despair of 
doing that which the venerable fathers of our 
Republic have told us is not only practicable, 



but I ave admonished us must be done, if we 
mean to save the Commonwealth from ruin. 
With a steady perseverance, failure is impos- 
sible. The sympathies and support of the 
world would gather around us. The smiles 
of Heaven and our honest feelings would sus- 
tain us. 

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, permit me again 
to repeat, that although I am decidedly in favor 
of some scheme of manumission that will ulti- 
mately relieve my country from the catastrophe 
which threatens it, let no gentleman suppose, 
from what has fallen from me, that I am in 
favor of any rash, violent, or hasty legislation. 
I am for action, but it must be sober, circum- 
spect, well-considered action. I am for no 
plan which is not mild, gradual, prospective 
in its operation. I shall advocate no scheme 
that does not respect the right of property, so 
far as it is entitled to be respected, with a just 
regard to the safety and resources of the State. 
I would approach the subject as one of great 
magnitude and delicacy, as one whose varied 
and momentous consequences demand the 
calmest and most deliberate investigation. 
But still, sir, I would approach it — aye, deli- 
cate as it may be, encompassed as it may be 
with difficulties and hazards, I would still ap- 
proach it. The people demand it. Their se- 
curity requires it. In the language of the wise 
and prophetic Jefferson, "You must approach 
it — you must bear it — you must adopt some plan 
of emancipation^ or worse will follow 

I next quote from the Nashville Banner^ then 
the domestic organ of General Jackson: 
From the Nashville Banner of the SOih of June ^ 

1834, then edited by the late Samuel H. 


"Emancipation. — The agitators and fanatics 
of the East have been recently engaged in 
some highly reprehensible measures. All the 
sober friends of gradual and prospective eman- 
cipation, and who see the alarming and horrid 
consequences of immediate or forcible aboli- 
tion, have been open in the condemnation of 
their measures in Boston, New York, and Phil- 
adelphia. Those wretches have set themselves 
up as the open enemies of the Colonization 
Society, and speak in open derision of its prin- 
ciples and its measures. In this State, we 
have nothing to fear from such men; they 
dare not show their faces. Here, the great 
moral principle is at work, which, in the end, 
will inevitably accomplish the great work in 
a lawful and constitutional way. The warm- 
est fi'iends of the cause here only wish to go a 
little in advance of the present spirit of the 
age. The only weapons they pretend to em- 
ploy are religion, expediency, reason, and 
moral duty. It is in this spirit that Mr. Ste- 
phenson's benevolent protest, introduced in 
the Convention, has been drawn, which in the 
benignancy of its purposes is unanswerable, 
and in point of reason and argument — for the 
hand of a man who has matured his subject is 
apparent in it-^-says everything that can be 

said in favor of what it proposes, at this time. 
These are merely our opinions; but the sub- 
ject generally is one upon which we have 
read and reflected, more perhaps than upon 
any other not immediately connected with pur 
daily avocations in life. We have become 
thoroughly convinced, that nothing but time, 
and the future operation of moral principles, 
carried out in Avise legislation, founded upon 
the principle of compensation, or some other 
principle of justice, which may become, here- 
after, acceptable to the owners, will ever ena- 
ble the work to be done. Let restraints, how- 
ever, upon voluntary emancipation be as few 
as the safety of society will permit — upon 
colonization, none." 

The Nashville Republican, also a Jackson 
paper at the time, spoke as follows, on the 
20th of February, 1834: 

"It is supposed that efforts will be made to 
insert a provision for the gradual abolition of 
slavery, and perhaps the colonization of our 
colored population. Upon the propriety of 
I this step we shall not at present decide. Much 
would depend upon the nature of the provis- 
ion, whether well adapted to our present and 
future condition. The Legislature oi Tennes- 
see has already taken up the cause of coloni- 
zation, and made, perhaps, as liberal a provis- 
ion for it as our finances permitted. The 
nature of things, the march of public opinion, 
the voice of religion, all have said that Amer- 
ican slavery must have an end. What shall 
be the legislative measures to that effect, and 
when they shall begin, are questions for pru- 
dence to determine." 

The State Convention declined to do any- 
thing at the time towards emancipation, 
though the evils of slavery were generally ac- 
knowledged. Mr. Stephenson, a prominent 
politician of the time, entered a protest against 
this non-action. Mr. Laughlin, the editor of 
the Banner, and a prominent friend of General 
Jackson, pronounced the protest "wise and 
benevolent." The following are extracts from 
this document: 

"One of its (the Bible's) excellent rules is, 
'As you would that men should do unto you, 
do you even so unto them.' Now, to apply 
this golden rule to the case of the master and 
slave, we have just to place each in the others 
stead, then ask the question honestly, 'What 
would I that my servant, thus placed in power, 
would do to me?' Surely, (if I durst,) I would 
say, ' When I had paid to you, with usury, a 
full equivalent for all you have expended in 
procuring me, and providing for my sujjport 
and comfort, you ought to be satisfied; this i5 
ull stern justice can require, and humanity 
and a regard for the rights of man would re- 
quire no more. Why, then, do you not permit 
me to go out free to pursue happiness my own 
way?' " 



Again, I read in this "benevolent protest," 
(which, in the benignancy of its purposes, was 
unanswerable, according to Mr. Laughlin,) as 
follows : 

"The undersigned do not admit that the 
refusal or neglect of other States to remove 
an existing evil is a justification for us. It is 
written, when the Jews desired a king, one of 
their reiisons was, that they might be like the 
heathen natives around them; but this then 
was declared by the words of unerring Thought 
not to be good. In the Bible we have an ac- 
count of a people once in bondage; and when 
the great God called for their deliverance, the 
cry of their cp].ressors was, (as we believe, in 
the spirit of the report,) 'They be idle, they 
be iiie.' God hath said, 'Let the oppressed 
go free;' and he that oppresseth the poor, re- 
proa cheth his Maker. 

"The report suj'poses it a dangerous experi- 
ment; the command is, nevertheless, Go for- 
ward, -although the Red Sea, starvation, deg- 
radation, with all the train of horrors so 
eIo.[.ieutIy set forth in the report, stare you in 
the face. Ts it better to obey God, or man? 
As wise nvi. judge ye." 

Mr. Laaghhn remarked, in reference to the 

"Here (in Tennessee) the great moral prin- 
ciple is at work, which, in the end, will in- 
evitably accoitplish the great work (of eman- 
cipation) in a legal and constitutional way. 
The warmest iViends of the cause here only 
want to go a liltle in advance of the present 
spirit of the ago. The only weapons they 
pretend to employ are religion, expediency, 
rea-on, and m -- al duty." 

l .ie debate in the Virginia Legislature in 
1832, and in the Convention a year or two 
before, together with the above extracts, will | 
serve to illustrate the spirit of Democracy, and 
of Whiggery too, in the palmy days of Jackson 
and Clay. 

From Tucker's Blackstcne. 

£y St. George Tucker^ Professor of Law in the 
University of William and Mary^ and one of 
the Judges of the General Court in Virginia. 

Note H. 

In the preceding inquiry into the absolute 
rights of the citizens of United America, we 
must not be understood as if those rights were 
equally and universally the privilege of all the 
inhabitants of the United States, or even of 
all those who may challenge this land of free- 
dom as their native country. Among the 
blessings which the Almighty hath showered 
down on these States, there is a large portion 
of the bitterest draught that ever flowed from 
the cup of athiction. Whilst America hath 

been the land of promise to Europeans and 
their descendants, it hath been the vale of 
death to millions of the Avretched sons of Af- 
rica. The genial light of Liberty, which hath 
here shone with unrivalled lustre on the for- 
mer, hath yielded no comfort to the latter; 
but to them hath proved a pillar of darkness, 
whilst it hath conducted the former to the 
most enviable state of human existence. AVhilst 
we were offering up vows at the shrine of 
Liberty and sacrificing hecatombs upon her 
altars; whilst we swore irreconcilable hostility 
to her enemies, and hurled defiance in their 
faces; whilst we adjured the God of Hosts to 
witness our resolution to live free, or die, and 
imprecated curses on their heads who refused 
to unite with us in establishing the empire of 
Freedom, we were imposing upon our fellow- 
men, who differ in complexion from us, a sla- 
very ten tliousand times more cruel than the 
utmost extremity of those grievances and op- 
pressions of which we complained. Such are 
the inconsistencies of human nature; such the 
blindness of those who pluck not the beam 
out of their own eyes, whilst they can espy a 
moat in the eyes of their brother; such that 
partial system of morality which confines 
rights and injuries to particular complexions ; 
such the effect of that self-love which justifies 
or condemns, not according to principle, but 
to the agent. Had we turned our eyes in- 
wardly when we supplicated the Father of 
Mercies to aid the injured and oppressed; when 
we invoked the Author of Righteousness to 
attest the purity of our motives and the justice 
of our cause; and implored the God of Battles 
to aid our exertions in its defence, should Ave 
not have stood more self-convicted than the 
contrite publican? Should we not have left 
our gift upon the altar, that we might first be 
reconciled to our brethren whom we held in 
bondage? Should we not have loosed their 
i chains and broken their fetters? Or, if the 
difficulties and dangers of such an experiment 
prohibited the attempt during the convulsions 
of a revolution, is it not our duty to embrace 
the first moment of constitutional health and 
vigor to effectuate so desirable an object, and 
to remove from us a stigma with which our 
enemies will never fail to upbraid us, nor our 
consciences to reproach us ? 

This note is very long, and embraces an 
elaborate plan of emancipation. 

The following letter of Mr. Clay is copied 
from a newspaper of 1849. It was published 
widely at the time of its appearance : 

New Orleans, February 17, 1849. 
Dear Sir : Prior to my departure from home 
in December last, in behalf of yourself and 
other friends, you obtained from me a promise 
to make a public exposition of my views and 
opinions upon a grave and important question 
which, it was then anticipated, would be much 
debated and considered by the people of Ken- 



tucky, during this year, in consequence of the 
approaching Convention, summoned to amend 
their present Constitution. I was not entirely 
well when I left home, and owing to that 
cause, and my confinement several weeks, du- 
ring my sojourn in this city, from the effects 
of an accident which befel me, I have been 
delayed in the fulfilment of my promise, which 
I now propose to execute. 

The question to which I allude is, whether 
African slavery, as it now exists in Kentucky, 
shall be left to a perpetual or indefinite con- 
tinuance, or some provision shall be made, in 
the new Constitution, for its gradual and ulti- 
mate extinction? 

A few general observations will suffice my 
present purpose, without entering on the whole 
subject of slavery, under all its bearings and 
in every aspect of it. I am aware that there 
are respectable persons who believe that sla- 
very is a blessing, that the institution ought 
to exist in every well-organized society, and 
that it is even favorable to the preservation of 
liberty. Happily, the number who entertain 
these extravagant opinions is not very great, 
and the time would be uselessly occupied in 
an elaborate refutation to them. I would, 
however, remark that, if slavery be fraught 
with these alleged benefits, the principle on 
which it is maintained would require that one 
portion of the white race should be reduced to 
bondage, to serve another portion of the same 
race, when black subjects of slavery could not 
be obtained; and that in Africa, where they 
may entertain as great a preference for their 
color as we do for ours, they would be justi- 
fied in reducing the white race to slavery, in 
order to secure the blessings Avhich that state 
is said to diffuse. 

An argument, in support of reducing tne 
African race to slavery is sometimes derived 
from their alleged intellectual inferiority to the 
white races ; but, if this argument be founded 
in fact, (as it may be, but which I shall not 
now examine,) it would prove entirely too 
much. It would prove that any white nation, 
which had made greater advances in civiliza- 
tion, knowledge, and wisdom, than another 
white nation, would have a right to reduce the 
latter to a state of bondage. Nay, further : if 
the principle of subjugation founded upon in- 
tellectual superiority be true, and be applica- 
ble to races and to nations, what is to prevent 
its being applied to individuals? And then 
the wisest man in the world would have a right 
to make slaves of all the rest of mankind. 

If indeed we possess this intellectual superi- 
ority, profoundly grateful and thankful to Him 
who has bestowed it, we ought to fulfil all the 
obligations and duties which it imposes; and 
these would require us, not to subjugate or 
deal unjustly by our fellow men who are less 
blessed than we are, but to instruct, to im- 
prove, and to enlighten them. 

A vast majority of the people of the United 
States, in every section of them, I believe, re- 
gret the introduction of slavery into the colo- 
nies, under the authority of our British ances- 

tors, lament that a single slave treads our soil, 
deplore the necessity of the continuance of 
slavery in any of the States, regard the in- 
stitution as a great evil to both races, and 
would rejoice in the adoption of any safe, just, 
and practicable plan for the removal of all 
slaves from among us. Hitherto no such sat- 
isfactory plan has been presented. When, on 
the occasion of the formation of our present 
Constitution of Kentucky, in 1799, the question 
of the gradual emancipation of slavery in that 
State was agitated, its friends had to encoun- 
ter a great obstacle, in the fact that there then 
existed no established colony to which they 
could be transported. Now, by the successful 
establishment of flourishing colonies on the 
western coast of Africa, that difficulty has been 
obviated. And I confess that, without in- 
dulging in any undue feelings of superstition, 
it does seem to me that it may have been among 
the dispensations of Providence to permit the 
Avrongs, under which Africa has suffered, to 
be inflicted, that her children might be return- 
ed to their original home, civilized, imbued 
with the benign spirit of Christianity, and pre- 
pared ultimately to redeem that great conti- 
nent from barbarism and idolatry. 

Without undertaking to judge for any other 
State, it was my opinion in 1V99 that Kentucky 
was in a condition to admit of the gradual 
emancipation of her slaves ; and how deeply 
do I lament that a system with that object had 
not been then established. If it had been, the 
State would now be nearly rid of all slaves. 
My opinion has never changed, and I have fre- 
quently publicly expressed it. I should be 
most happy, if what was impracticable at that 
epoch could now be accomplished. 

After full and deliberate consideration of the 
subject, it appears to me that three principles 
should regulate the establishment of a system 
of gradual emancipation. The first is, that it 
should be slow in its operation, cautious and 
gradual, so as to occasion no convulsion, nor 
any rash or sudden disturbance in the existing 
habits of society. Second, that, as an indis- 
pensable condition, the emancipated slaves 
should be removed from the State to some 
colony. And, thirdly, that the expenses of 
their transportation to such colony, including 
an outfit for six months after their arrival at 
it, should be defrayed by a fund to be raised 
from the labor of each freed slave. 

Nothing could be more unwise than the 
immediate liberation of all the slaves in the 
State, comprehending both sexes and all ages, 
from that of tender infancy to extreme old age. 
It would lead to the most frightful and fatal 
consequences. Any great change in the con- 
dition of society should be marked by extreme 
care and circumspection. The introduction 
of slaves into the colonies was an operation 
of many years duration ; and the work of their 
removal from the United States can only bo 
effected after the lapse of a great length of 

I think that a period should be fixed when 
all born after it should be free at a specifiec 



age, all born before it remaining slaves for 
life. That period, I would suggest, should be 
1855, or even 1860; for on this and other ar- 
rangements of the system, if adopted, I incline 
to a liberal margin, so as to obviate as many 
objections and to unite as many opinions as 
possible. Whether the commencement of the 
operation of the system be a little earlier or 
later, it is not so important as that a day should 
be permanently ^xe(/, from which we could look 
forward with confidence to the final termina- 
tion of slavery within the limits of the Com- 
monwealth. * 

Whatever may be the day fixed, whether 
1855 or 1860, or any other day, all born after 
it I suggest should be free at the age of twen- 
ty-five, but be liable afterwards to be hired 
out, under the authority of the State, for a 
term not exceeding three years, in order to 
raise a sum sufficient to pay the expenses of 
their transportation to the colony, and to pro- 
vide them an outfit for six months after their 
arrival there. 

If the descendants of those who were them- 
selves to be free at the age of twenty-five, were 
also to be considered as slaves until they at- 
tained the same age, and this rule were con- 
tinued indefinitely as to time, it is manifest 
that slavery would be perpetuated instead of 
being terminated. To guard against this con- 
sequence, provision might be made that the 
offspring of those who were to be free at twen- 
ty-five, should be free from their birth, but 
upon the condition that they should be appren- 
ticed until they were twenty-one, and be also 
afterwards liable to be hired out a period not 
exceeding three years, for the purpose of rais- 
ing funds to meet the expense to the colony 
and their subsistence for the first six months. 

The Pennsylvania system of emancipation 
fixed the period of twenty-eight for the liber- 
ation of slaves, and provided, or her courts 
have since interpreted the system to mean, 
that the issue of all who were to be free at the 
limited age, were from their births free. The 
Pennsylvania system made no provision for 

Until the commencement of the system which 
I am endeavoring to sketch, I think all the legal 
rights of the proprietors of slaves, in their full- 
est extent, ought to remain unimpaired and 
unrestricted. Consequently, they would have 
the right to sell, devise, or remove them from 
the State; and in the latter case, without their 
offspring being entitled to the benefit of eman- 
cipation, for which the system provides. 

2d. The colonization of the free blacks, as 
they successively arrive, from year to year, at 
the age entitling them to freedom, I consider 
a condition absolutely indispensable. Without 
it, I should be utterly opposed to any scheme 
of emancipation. One hundred and ninety odd 
thousand blacks, composing about one-fourth 
of the entire population of the State, with their 
descendants, could never live in peace, harmo- 
ny, and equality, with the residue of the pop- 
ulation. The color, passions, and prejudices, 
would forever prevent the two races living 

together in a state of cordial union. Social, 
moral, and political degradation would be the 
inevitable lot of the colored race. Even in 
the free States, (I use the terms free and slave 
States not in any sense derogatory from one 
class, or implying any superiority in the other, 
but for the sake of brevity,) that is their pres- 
ent condition. In some of those free States, 
the penal legislation against the people of color 
is quite as severe, if not harsher, than it is in 
some of the slave States. As nowhere in the 
United States are amalgamation and equality 
between the two races possible, it is better 
that there should be a separation, and that the 
African descendants should be returned to the 
native land of their fathers. 

It will have been seen that the plan I have 
suggested proposes the annual transportation 
of all born after a specified day, upon their 
arrival at the prescribed age, to the colony 
which may be selected for their destination ; 
and this process of transportation is to be con- 
tinued, until the separation of the two races 
is completed. If the emancipated slaves were 
to remain in Kentucky until they attained the 
age of twenty-eight, it would be about thirty- 
four years before the first annual transporta- 
tion began, if the system commenced in 1855; 
and about thirty-nine years, if its operation 
I began in 1860. 

What the number thus to be annually trans- 
ported would be, cannot be precisely ascer- 
tained. I observe it stated by the auditor, 
that the increase of slaves in Kentucky last 
year was between three and four thousand. 
But, as that statement was made upon a com- 
parison of the aggregate number of all the 
slaves in the State, without regard to births, 
it does not, I presume, exhibit truly the natural 
increase, which was probably larger. The 
aggregate was affected by the introduction 
and still more by the exportation of slaves. I 
suppose that there would not be less, probably 
more, than five thousand to be transported the 
first year of the operation of the system ; but, 
after it was in progress some years, there would 
be be a constant diminution of the number. 

Would it be practicable annually to trans- 
port five thousand persons from Kentucky? 
There cannot be a doubt of it, or even a much 
larger aumber. We receive from Europe an- 
nually emigrants to an amount exceeding two 
hundred and fifty thousand, at a cost for the 
passage of about ten dollars per head, and 
they embark at European ports more distant 
from the United States than the western coast 
of Africa. It is true that the commercial ma- 
rine employed between Europe and the United 
States affords facilities, in the transportation 
of emigrants, at that low rate, which that en- 
gaged in the commerce between Liberia and 
this country does not now supply; but that 
commerce is increasing; and by the time the 
proposed system, if adopted, would go into 
operation, it will have greatly augmented. 

If there were a certainty of the annual trans- 
portation of not less than five thousand per- 
sons to Africa, it would create a demand for 



transports, and the spirit of competition would, 
I have no doubt, greatly diminish the present 
cost of the passage. That cost has been stated, 
upon good authority, to be at present fifty dol- 
lars per head, including the passage and six 
months' outfit after the arrival of the emigrant 
in Africa. Whatever may be the cost, and 
whatever the number to be transported, the 
fund to be raised by the hire of the liberated 
slave, for a period not exceeding three years, 
will be amply sufficient. The annual hire, on 
the average, may be estimated at fifty dollars, 
or one hundred and fifty for the whole term. 

Colonization will be attended with the pain- 
ful effect of the separation of the colonists from 
their parents, and in some instances from their 
children ; but from the latter it will be only 
temporary, as they will follow, and be again 
reunited. Their separation from their parents 
will not be until after they have attained a 
mature age, nor greater than voluntarily takes 
place with emigrants from Europe, who leave 
their parents behind. It will be far less dis- 
tressing than what frequently occurs in the 
state of slavery, and will be attended with the 
animating encouragement, that the colonists 
are transferred from a land of bondage and 
degradation for them, to a land of liberty and 

And 3d. The expense of transporting the 
liberated slave to the colony, and of maintain- 
ing him there for six months, I think ought 
to be provided for by a fund derived from his 
labor, in the manner already indicated. He 
is the party most benefited by emancipation. 
It would not be right to subject the non-slave- 
holder to any part of that expense; and the 
slaveholder will have made sufficient sacrifices, 
without being exclusively burdened with taxes 
to raise that fund. The emancipated slaves 
could be hired out for the time proposed, by 
the sheriff", or other public agent, in each coun- 
ty, who should be subject to strict account- 
ability. And it would be requisite that there 
should be kept a register of all births of all 
children of color, after the day fixed for the 
commencement of the system, enforced by ap- 
propriate sanctions. It would be a very de- 
sirable regulation of law, to have the births, 
deaths, and marriages, of the whole population 
of the State, registered and preserved, as is 
done in most well-governed States. 

Among other considerations which unite in 
recommending to the State of Kentucky a sys- 
tem for the gradual abolition of slavery, is that 
arising out of her exposed condition, affording 
great facilities to the escape of her slaves into 
the free States and into Canada. She does 
not enjoy the security which some of the slave 
States have, by being covered in depth by two 
or three slave States intervening between them 
and free States. She has a greater length of 
border on free States than any other slave 
State in the Union. That border is the Ohio 
river, extending from the mouth of the Big 
Sandy to the mouth of the Ohio, a distance 
of near six hundred miles, separating her from 

the already powerful and growing States of 
Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. 

Vast numbers of slaves have fled from most 
of the counties in Kentucky, from the mouth 
of Big Sandy to the mouth of the Miami, and 
the evil has increased and is increasing. At- 
tempts to recover the fugitives lead to the 
most painful and irritating collisions. Hith- 
erto, countenance and assistance to the fugi- 
tives have been chiefly afforded by persons in 
the State of Ohio ; but it is to be apprehended, 
from the progressive opposition^ to slavery, 
that, in process of time, similar facilities to 
the escape of slaves will be found in the feiatus 
of Indiana and Illinois. By means of railroads, 
Canada can be reached from Cincinnati in a 
little more than twenty-four hours. 

In the event of a civil war breaking out, or 
in the more direful event of a dissolution of 
the Union, in consequence of the existence of 
slavery, Kentucky would become the theatre 
and bear the brunt of the war. She would 
doubtless defend herself with her known valor 
and gallantry ; but the superiority of the num- 
bers by which she would be opposed would 
lay waste and devastate her fair fields. Her 
sister slave States would fly to her succor; 
but, even if they should be successful in the 
unequal conflict, she never could obtain any 
indemnity for the inevitable ravages of the 

It may be urged that we ought not, by the 
gradual abolition of slavery, to separate our- 
selves from the other slave States, but con- 
tinue to share with them in all their future 
fortunes. The power of each slave State, 
within its limits, over the institution of sla- 
very, is absolute, supreme, and exclusive — 
exclusive of that of Congress or that of any 
other State. The Government of each slave 
State is bound, by the highest and most solemn 
obligations, to dispose of the question of sla- - 
very so as best to promote the peace, happiness, 
and prosperity, of the people of the State. 
Kentucky being essentially a farming State, 
slave labor is less profitable. 

If, in most of the other slave States, they 
find that labor more profitable in the culture 
of the staples of cotton and sugar, they may 
perceive a reason in that feeling for continu- 
ing slavery, which it cannot be expected should 
control the judgment of Kentucky, as to what 
may be fitting and proper for her interests. 
If she should abolish slavery, it Avould be 
her duty, and I trust that she would be as 
ready as she now is, to defend the slave States 
in the enjoyment of all their lawful and con- 
stitutional rights. Her power, political and 
physical, would be greatly increased ; for the 
one hundred and niuciy odd thousand slaves, 
and their descendants, would be gradually su- 
perseded by an equal number of white inhab- 
itants, who would be estimated per capita, and 
not by the Federal rule of three-fifths pre- 
scribed for the colored race in the Constitution 
of the United States. 

I have thus, without reserve, freely expressed 
my opinion and presented my views. The in- 



teresting subject of which I have treated would 
have admitted of much enlargement, but I have 
desired to consult brevity. The plan which I 
have proposed will hardly be accused of being 
too early in its commencement or too rapid in 
its operation. It will be more 'likely to meet 
with contrary reproaches. If adopted, it is to 
begin thirty-four or thirty-nine years from the 
time of its adoption, as the one period or the 
other shall be selected for its commencement. 
How long a time it will take to remove all the 
colored race from the State, by the annual 
transportation of each year's natural increase, 
cannot be exactly ascertained. After the sys- 
tem had been in operation some years, I think 
it probable, from the manifest blessings that 
would flow from it, from the diminished value 
of slave labor, and from the humanity and 
benevolence of private individuals prompting 
a liberation of their slaves and their trans- 
portation, a general disposition would exist to 
accelerate and complete the work of coloniza- 

That the system will be attended with some 
sacrifices on the part of the slaveholders, which 
are to be regretted, need not be denied. What 
great and beneficial enterprise was ever accom- 
plished without risk and sacrifice? But these 
sacrifices are distant, contingent, and incon- 
siderable. Assuming the year 1860 for the 
commencement of the system, all slaves born 
prior to that time would remain such during 
their lives, and the personal loss of the slave- 
holder would be only the difference in value 
of a female slave whose offspring, if she had 
any, born after the first day of January, 1860, 
should be free at the age of twenty-five, or 
should be slaves for life. 

In the mean time, if the right to remove or 
sell the slaves out of the State should be exer- 
cised, that trifling loss would not be incurred. 
The slaveholder, after the commencement of 
the system, would lose the difference in value 
between slaves for life and slaves until the age 
of twenty-five. He might also incur some in- 
considerable expense in rearing, from their 
birth, the issue of those who were to be free 
at twenty-five, until they were old enough to 
be apprenticed out ; but as it is probable that 
they would be most generally bound to him, 
he would receive some indemnity for their 
services until they attained their majority. 

Most of the evils, losses, and misfortunes of 
human life have some compensation or allevi- 
ation. The slaveholder is generally a land- 
holder, and I am persuaded that he would find, 
in the augmented value of his land, some, if 
not full indemnity for losses arising to him from 
emancipation and colonization. He would 
also liberally share in the general benefits, 
accruing to the whole State, from the extinc- 
tion of slavery. These have been so often and 
so fully stated, that I will not, nor is it neces- 
sary to dwell upon them extensively. They 
may be summed up in a few words. We shall 
remove from among us the contaminating in- 
fluences of a servile and degraded race, of 

different color ; we shall enjoy the proud and 
conscious satisfaction of placing that race 
where they can enjoy the great blessings of 
liberty, and civil, political, and social equality; 
we shall acquire the advantage of the diligence, 
the fidelity, and the constancy, of free labor, 
instead of the carelessness, the infidelity, and 
the unsteadiness, of slave labor; we shall ele- 
vate the character of white labor, and elevate 
the social condition of the white laborer; aug- 
ment the value of our lands, improve the agri- 
culture of the State, attract capital from abroad 
to all the pursuits of commerce, manufactures, 
and agriculture ; redress, as far and as fast as 
we prudently could, any wrongs which the 
descendants of Africa have suffered at our 
hands; and we should demonstrate the sin- 
cerity with which we pay indiscriminate hom- 
age to the great cause of the liberty of the 
human race. 

Kentucky enjoys high respect and honora- 
ble consideration throughout the Union and 
throughout the civilized world; but, in my 
humble opinion, no title which she has to the 
esteem and admiration of mankind, no deeds 
of her former glory, would equal, in greatness 
and grandeur, that of being the pioneer State 
in removing from her soil every trace of human 
slavery, and in establishing the descendants 
of Africa within her jurisdiction in the native 
land of their forefathers. 

I have thus executed the promise I made, 
alluded to in the commencement of this letter ; 
and I hope that I have done it calmly, free 
from intemperance, and so as to wound the 
sensibilities of none. I sincerely hope that 
the question may be considered and decided, 
without the influence of party or passion. I 
should be most happy to have the good fortune 
of coinciding in opinion with a majority of the 
people of Kentucky; but if there be a majority 
opposed to all schemes of gradual emancipa- 
tion, however much I may regret it, my duty 
will be to bow in submission to their will. 

If it be perfectly certain and manifest that 
such a majority exists. I should think it better 
not to agitate the question at all, since that, 
in that case, it would be useless, and might 
exercise a pernicious collateral influence upon 
the fair consideration of other amendments 
which may be proposed to our Constitution. 
If there be a majority of the people of Ken- 
tucky, at this time, adverse to touching the 
institution of slavery, as it now exists, we, 
who had thought and wished otherwise, can 
only indulge the hope that at some future 
time, under better auspices, and with the 
blessing of Providence, the cause which we 
have so much at heart may be attended with 
better success. 

In any event, I shall have the satisfaction 
of having performed a duty to the State, to 
the subject, and to myself, by placing my sen- 
timents permanently upon record. 

With great regard, I am your friend and 
obedient servant, H. Clay. 

Richard Findell, Esq. 




Delivered in the Assembly of Maryland^ at their 
session in 1788, when the report of a com,' 
mittee of the Ilouse^ favorable to a petition for 
the relief of the oppressed slaves, was under 

Mr. Speaker: Before I proceed to deliver 
my sentiments on the subject matter of the 
report under consideration, I must entreat the 
members of this House to hear me with pa- 
tience, and not to condemn what I may happen 
to advance in support of the opinion I have 
formed, until they shall have heard me out. 
I am conscious, sir, that upon this occasion I 
have long-established principles to combat, and 
deep-rooted prejudices to defeat; that I have 
fears and apprehensions to silence, which the 
acts of former Legislatures have sanctioned; 
and that (what is equivalent to a host of diffi- 
culties) the popular impressions are against 
me. But, if I am honored with the same in- 
dulgent attention which the House has been 
pleased to afford me on past subjects of delib- 
eration, I do not despair of surmounting all 
these obstacles, in the common cause of justice, 
humanity, and policy. The report appears to 
me to have two objects in view: to annihilate 
the existing restraints on the voluntary eman- 
cipation of slaves, and to relieve a particular 
offspring from the punishment heretofore in- 
flicted on them, for the mere transgression of 
their parents. To the whole report, separately 
and collectively, my hearty assent, my cordial 
assistance, shall be given. It was the policy 
of this country, sir, from an early period of 
colonization down to the Revolution, to en- 
courage an importation of slaves, for purposes 
which (if conjecture may be indulged) had 
been far better answered without their assist- 
ance. That this inhuman policy was a dis- 
grace to the colony, a dishonor to the Legis- 
lature, and a scandal to human nature, we 
need not, at this enlightened period, labor to 
prove. The generous mind, that has adequate 
ideas of the inherent rights of mankind, and 
knows the value of them, must feel its indig- 
nation rise against the shameful traffic that 
introduces slavery into a country which seems 
to have been designed by Providence as an 
asylum for those whom the arm of power had 
persecuted, and not as a nursery for wretches 
stripped of every privilege which Heaven in- 
tended for its rational creatures, and reduced 
to a level with — nay, become themselves — the 
mere goods and chattels of their masters. 

Sir, by the eternal principles of natural jus- 
tice, no master in the State has a right to hold 
his slave in bondage for a single hour; but 
the law of the land, which (however oppressive 
and unjust, however inconsistent with the 
great groundwork of the late Revolution and 
our present frame of Government) we cannot, 
in prudence or from a regard to individual 
rights, abolish, has authorized a slavery as 
bad or perhaps worse than the most absolute, 
unconditional servitude, that ever England 
knew in the early ages of its empire, under 

the tyrannical policy of the Danes, the feudal 
tenures of the Saxons, or the pure villanage 
of the Normans. But, Mr. Speaker, because a 
respect for the peace and safety of the commu- 
nity, and the already-injured rights of indi- 
viduals, forbids a compulsory liberation of 
these unfortunate creatures, shall we unnecessa- 
rily refine upon this gloomy system of bondage, 
and prevent the owner of a slave from manu- 
mitting him, at the only probable period, when 
the warm feelings of benevolence and the gen- 
tle workings of commiseration dispose him to 
the generous deed? Sir, the natural character 
of Maryland is sufficiently sullied and dishon- 
ored, by barely tolerating slavery; but when 
it is found that your laws give every possible 
encouragement to its continuance to the latest 
generations, and are ingenious to prevent even 
its slow and gradual decline, how is the die 
of the imputation deepened? It may even be 
thought that our late glorious struggle for lib- 
erty did not originate in principle, but took its 
rise from popular caprice, the rage of faction, 
or the intemperance of party. Let it be re- 
membered, Mr. Speaker, that even in the days 
of feudal barbarity, when the minds of men 
were unexpauded by that liberality of senti- 
ment which springs from civilization and re- 
finement, such was the antipathy, in England, 
against private bondage, that so far from being 
studious to stop the progress of emancipation, 
the courts of law (aided by legislative conni- 
vance) were inventive to liberate by construc- 
tion, [f, for example, a man brought an action 
against his villain, it was presumed that he 
designed to manumit him ; and, although per- 
haps this presumption was, in ninety-nine in- 
stances out of a hundred, contrary to the fact, 
yet, upon this ground alone were bondmen 
adjudged to be free. 

Sir, I sincerely wish it were in my power to 
impart my feelings upon this subject to those 
who hear me ; they would then acknowledge, 
that while the owner was protected in the 
property of his slave, he might, at the same 
time, be allowed to relinquish that property to 
the unhappy subject, whenever he should be so 
inclined. They would then feel that denying 
this privilege was repugnant to every principle 
of humanity — an everlasting stigma on our 
Government — an act of unequalled barbarity, 
without a color of policy, or a pretext of ne- 
cessity, to justify it. 

Sir, let gentlemen put it home to themselves, 
that after Providence has crowned our exer- 
tions in the cause of general freedom with 
success, and led us on to independence through 
a myriad of dangers, and in defiance of obsta- 
cles crowding thick upon each other, we should 
not so soon forget the principles upon which 
we fled to arms, and lose all sense of that in- 
terposition of Heaven by which alone we could 
have been saved from the grasp of arbitrary 
power. We may talk of liberty in our public 
councils, and fancy that we feel reverence for 
her dictates. We may declaim, with all the 
vehemence of animated rhetoric against op- 
pression, and flatter ourselves that we detest 



the ugl}- monster ; but so long as we continue 
to cherish the poisonous weed of partial sla- 
very among us, the world will doubt our sin- 
cerity. In the name of Heaven, with what 
face can we call ourselves the friends of equal 
freedom and the inherent rights of our species, 
when we wantonly pass laws inimical to each ; 
when we reject every opportunity of destroy- 
ing, by silent, imperceptible degrees, the horrid 
fabric of individual bondage, reared by the 
mercenary hands of those from whom the sa- 
cred flame of liberty received no devotion? 

Sir, it is pitiable to reflect to what wild in- 
consistencies, to what opposite extremes, we 
are hurried by the frailty of our nature. Long 
have I been convinced that no generous senti- 
ment of which the human heart is capable, no 
elevated passion of the soul that dignifies 
mankind, can obtain a uniform and perfect 
dominion; to-day we maybe aroused as one 
man, by a wonderful and unaccountable sym- 
pathy against the lawless invader of the rights 
of his fellow-creatures ; to-morrow we may be 
guilty of the same oppression which we rep- 
robated and resisted in another. Is it, Mr. 
Speaker, because the complexion of these de- 
voted victims is not quite so delicate as ours ; 
is it because their untutored minds (humbled 
and debased by the hereditary yoke) appear 
less active and capacious than our own; or, is 
it because we have been so habituated to their 
situation as to become callous to the horrors 
of it, that we are determined, whether politic 
or not, to keep them, till time shall be no more, 
on a level with the brutes? For "nothing," 
says Montesquieu, " so much assimilates a man 
to a brute, as living among freemen, himself a 
slave." Call not Maryland a land of liberty, 
do not pretend that she has chosen this coun- 
try as an asylum, that here she has erected 
her temple and consecrated her shrine, when 
here, also, her unhallowed enemy holds his 
hellish pandscmonium, and our rulers offer sacri- 
fice at his polluted altar. The lily and the 
bramble may grow in social proximity, but 
liberty and slavery delight in separation. 

Sir, let us figure to ourselves for a moment 
one of these unhappy victims, more informed 
thau the rest, pleading at the bar of this House 
the cause of himself and his fellow-sufferers; 
what would be the language of this orator of 
nature? Thus, my imagination tells me he 
would address us: 

"We belong, by the policy of our country, 
to our masters, and submit to our rigorous 
destiny ; we do not ask you to divest them of 
their property, because we are conscious you 
have not the power ; we do not entreat you to 
compel an emancipation of us or our posterity, 
because justice to your fellow-citizens forbids 
it; we only supplicate you not to arrest the 
gentle arm of humanity, when it may be 
stretched forth in our behalf, nor to wage 
hostilities against that moral or religious con- 
viction which may at any time incline our 
masters to give freedom to us, or our unoffend- 
ing offspring; not to interpose legislative ob- 
stacles to the course of voluntary manumis- 

sion. Thus shall you neither violate the rights 
of your people, nor endanger the quiet of the 
community, while you vindicate your public 
councils from the imputation of cruelty and 
the stigma of causeless, unprovoked oppres- 
sion. We have never," would he argue, "re- 
belled against our masters; Ave have never 
thrown your Government into a ferment by 
struggles to regain the independence of our 
fathers. We have yielded our necks submis- 
sive to the yoke, and without a murmur ac- 
quiesced in the privation of our native rights. 
We conjure you, then, in the name of the com- 
mon Parent of mankind, reward us not for this 
long and patient acquiescence by shutting up 
the main avenues to our liberation, by with- 
holding from us the poor privilege of benefit- 
ing by the kind indulgence, the generous in- 
tentions, of our superiors." 

What could we answer to arguments like 
these? Silent and peremptory, we might re- 
ject the application; but no words could jus- 
tify the deed. 

In vain should we resort to apologies, ground- 
ed on the fallacious suggestions of a cautious 
and timid policy. I would as soon believe the 
incoherent tale of a schoolboy who should tell 
me he had been frightened by a ghost, as that 
the grant of this permission ought in any de- 
gree to alarm us. Are we apprehensive that 
these men will become more dangerous by 
becoming free ? Are we alarmed, lest, by being 
admitted to the enjoyment of civil rights, they 
will be inspired with a deadly enmity against 
the rights of others? Strange, unaccountable 
paradox I How much more rational would it 
be, to argue that the natural enemy of the 
privileges of freemen is he who is robbed of 
them himself! In him, the foul demon of jeal- 
ousy converts the sense of his own debasement 
into a rancorous hatred for the more auspicious 
fate of others ; while from him whom you have 
raised from the degrading situation of a slave, 
whom you have restored to that rank in the 
order of the universe which the malignity of 
his fortune prevented him from attaining be- 
fore — from such a man (unless his soul be ten 
thousand times blacker than his complexion) 
you may reasonably hope for ail the happy 
effects of the warmest gratitude and love. 

Sir, let us not limit our views to the short 
period of a life in being; let us extend them 
along the continuous liue of endless genera- 
tions yet to come. How will the millions that 
now teem in the womb of futurity, and whom 
your present laws would doom to the curse of 
perpetual bondage, feel the inspiration of grat- 
itude to those whose sacred love of liberty 
shall have opened the door to their admission 
within the pale of freedom? Dishonorable to 
the species is the idea, that they would ever 
prove injurious to our interests. Released 
from the shackles of slavery by the justice of 
Government and the bounty of individuals, 
the want of fidelity and attachment would be 
next to impossible. 

Sir, when we talk of policy, it would be 
well for us to reflect whether pride is not at 



the bottom of it; whether we do not feel our 
vanity and self-consequence wounded at the 
idea of a dusty African participating equally 
with ourselves in the rights of human nature, 
and rising to a level with us, from the lowest 
point of degradation. Prejudices of this kind, 
sir, are often so powerful as to persuade us 
that whatever countervails them is the ex- 
tremity of folly, and that the peculiar path of 

or country. There you have beheld an un- 
kindly surface wrested from its natural rude- 
ness, and made to smile with plenty by the 
labor and economy of a virtuous and hardy 
population, and fertilized by the sweat which 
falls from a freeman's brow. You have seen 
the benefits of education, the beauty of moral 
habits, which form the power and character 
of a people, elevated by all which can elevate 

wisdom is that which leads to their gratifica- ! human nature. You have said: 'Can this be 
tion. But it is for us to be superior to the i the nation which I left in the cradle? Can 

influence of such ungenerous motives; it is 
for us to reflect, that whatever the complexion, 
however ignoble the ancestry or uncultivated 
the mind, one universal Father gave being to 
them and us. and with that being conferred 
the unalienable rights of the species. But I 
tavo heard it argued, that if you permit a 
master to manumit his slaves by his last will 
and testament, as soon as they discover he has 
done so, they will destroy him, to prevent a 
revocation. Xever was a weaker defence at- 
tempted, to justify the severity of persecution; 
never did a bigoted inquisition condemn a 
heretic to torture and to death, upon grounds 
less adequate to justify the horrid sentence. 
Sir. is it not obvious that the argument applies 
equally against all devices whatsoever for any 
person's benefit? For. if an advantageous be- 

this be the country I left hardly emerged from 
a wilderness?' 'Yet such things are.' You 
left Liberty pluming her youthful pinions, just 
ready to take her early flight. You find her 
soaring on eagle's wings, undazzled by her 
height, preparing to leave the favored regions 
where the work is done, to skim the 'cloud 
capt" summits of the Andes, and perch in tri- 
umph on the banner of Bolivar. 

'*In your tour, General, new and diversified 
scenes await you at every link of the very long 
chain of the American Confederation. You 
have already reached a more genial clime, a 
region more blessed by Heaven, but. from the 
error of our fathers, more cursed by man. 

"In the South, our hearths are growing 
cold; our doors, which have so oft flown open 
at the call of hospitality, have rust on their 

quest is made, even to a white man. has he not ; hinges ; our chimneys, in which the blaze did 

the same temptation to cut short the life of his 
benefactor, to secure and accelerate the enjoy- 
ment of the benefit? 

As the universality of this argument renders 
it completely nugatory, so is its cruelty palpa- 
ble, by its being more applicable to other in- 
stances to which it has never been applied at 
all, than to the case under consideration. — See 
WiUistoris Eloquence of the United States," vol. V. 


once * run roaring up,' now emit a feeble smoke, 
scarce enough to stain a mid-day sky. Yet 
generous was the day of our greatness; the 
social virtues dwelt in our hearts, and under 
our roofs the stranger always found a home. 
Our glory has passed away; the Ancient Do- 
minion, "the seat of talent, of patriotism, of 
revolutionary pride and reminiscence, is falling 
from her once high degree ; she yields before 
the powerful march of sister States, which 
were once to her 'as I to Hercules.' 'Tis true 

From a xcorh in a series of numbers, en ^iV/e^f : ^^le dreams of fancy still picture the southern 
" Conversations of Lafayette while in the United i proprietor as rechning on beds of roses, fanned 

States of America, in 182- 

I*. Custis, Esq., of Arlington. 

Mr. Custis said : " My dear General, you will 
go to the meeting of the American Colonization 
Society to-night, in the Capitol. While you re- 
main with us. we shall embrace every opportuni- 
ty of appropriating you to all good works. This 
is an affair of philanthropy, and will be pecu- 
liarly interesting, inasmuch as it will call up 
the recollections of a great work of philan- 
thropy, in which you were engaged some forty 
years ago. 

"Would to God, that on your return to our 
shores you could have seen the land of free- 
dom untarnished by the presence of a slave. 
Would that you could have seen this fair coun- 
try, this great and rising empire, the abode 
alone of freemen. 

Truly striking must the contrast have been 
to you, between the Northern and Southern 
sections of our Confederation. There, in the I 
land of steady habits, you beheld the genuine 
practice of republicanism, in the morality, the 
industry, and independence, of a people who 
would be the pride and ornament of any age 

George TT. | ^7 Houris of the Mahomedan paradise; say 
rather the unenviable couch of Guatimozin. 

The roses which bloom in slavery's clime soon 
'waste their sweetness in its desert air,' and 
the paths which appear to be strewed with 
flowers will be found to contain full many a 

But small is the stream which divides the 
Mother of the States from her now mighty of$- 
spring. For nearly two centuries had the 
parent being, before this 'child of promise' 
beheld the light; but behold the march of 
Freedom ! for where her progress is unimpeded 
by the trammels of slavery, hers is a giant's 
stride. But yesterday, and where this great 
community now flourishes was a trackless 
forest; 'tis now enlivened by the busy 'hum 
of men,' and civilization and the arts have 
fixed a happy dwelling there; nay, more — his- 
trionic* talent has illustrated the words of the 
divine Shakspeare, where late the panther 
howled, and 

• Savage beasts of prey 
And men more savage fiill Uian they.' 

* Cooper playing at Cincinnati, Ohio 


The axe of the woodman rouses the echoes 
which have slept for ages in the silence of 
nature. The harvest smiles in luxuriance 
where wild flowers grew of late, and the hymns 
of praise, heard from the temples of the ever- 
living God, succeed to the yell of the savage, 
the signal of despair and death. 

" Know you of changes like these in the land 
of the slave? Xo, my dear General, there, 
'like a wounded snake,' improvement, pros- 
perity, and happiness, 'drag their slow length 
along;' but give to the land liberty, and at 
once she puts on her seven-league boots, and 
rushes to glory and empire. 

"To remove so foul a blot from the Ameri- 
can character — to restore a degraded popula- 
tion to the climate and soil of their ancestors — 
to cause freemen to overspread and cultivate 
the land now occupied by the slave, will be to 
honor and aggrandize the Republic, and aflford 
a brilliant example to the world. 

" With such views, the American Coloniza- 
tion Society steadily pursues its course," &c. 

Lafayette^ 8 Reply. 

" With much pleasure, my dear sir," the 
General replied, "will I go to the meeting of 
the American Colonization Society. We will 
first call on , and then to the Capitol. . 

"Since my arrival in the United States, I 
have, indeed, beheld wonderful improvements, 
far beyond my most enthusiastic expectations. 
The benign influence of freedom has caused 
creations to arise, rather than improvements, in 
this highly-favored land. The American por- 
tion of my heart, and that is no small portion 
of it, I can assure you, truly hails with delight, 
and rejoices in sympathy with all which ele- 
vates and aggrandizes this only free Govern- 
ment on earth. 

" I am well aware of the cloud of evil which 
overhangs and shadows the South. Some of 
my fondest recollections belong to that genial 
region. It was there I first landed, a young 
recruit to the army of liberty, accompanied by 
poor General de Kalb, the same who fell gal- 
lantly fighting for her cause in the battle of 
Camden. It was there I received the welcome 
of Americans to a stranger from many friends, 
most of whom now sleep in their graves. I 
have too often experienced the kind hearted- 
ness and hospitality of the South, ever to forget 

" Again, her noble devotion to the cause of 
liberty, her severe and manifold sufferings and 
sacrifices in the war of the Revolution, the 
untiring patriotism of her sons, the campaign 
of 1781, the brilliant, heroic, never-to-be-for- 
gotten campaigns of Greene, form features the 
most sublime and interesting in the character 
and history of the South. Tis true she has 
much to deplore, but she has much too to ad- 
mire: she still boasts of sons the most patri- 
otic and enlightened, the most generous and 
hospitable, and contains in her soil a grave 
the most revered. 

" Of the affair of Cayenne I will briefly state : 
That on my return to France, in 1785, 1 formed 

a plan for the amelioration of slavery, and the 
gradual emancipation of slaves in the colorij 
of Cayenne. Most of the property in the colo- 
ny belonged to the crown of France, which 
enabled me the better to prosecute my plans, 
being less liable to interruption from the con- 
flicting interests and opinions of various pro- 
prietors. The purchase money of the estates 
and slaves amounted to about thirty thousand 
dollars, not a very large sum for my fortunes 
in those days, but laid out wholly and solely 
for the purposes just mentioned. Surely it 
could not have been desirable for me, in those 
times of affluence and interesting relations in 
France, to cross the Atlantic and seek adven- 
tures for profit in a distant clime. A young 
man, just returned from aiding in the success- 
ful accomplishment of American liberty, I felt 
such enthusiasm in her holy cause as induced 
me to wish to see her blessings extended to 
the whole human family, and not even with- 
held from that injured and degraded race who, 
lowest in the scale of human being, have, from 
their forlorn and friendless situation, superior 
claims to the aid and commiseration o( philan- 

" Believing that the agents usually employed 
in the colony were not of a sort to further 
my views, I engaged a Monsieur B., at Paris, a 
man of firm yet amiable disposition, and well 
calculated for the work in which he was to be 
engaged. Furnished with a perfect under- 
standing of my plans and wishes, B. sailed for 
Cayenne. Upon his arrival, the first act of 
his administration was to collect all the cart 
whips and such like instruments of punish- 
ment, used under the former regime, and have 
them burnt in a general assemblage of the 
slaves. B. then proceeded to make and declare 
laws, rules, and discipline, for the government 
of the estates. Affairs went on prosperously, 
and but for the Revolution, which convulsed 
France both at home and abroad, the most 
favorable results were to be expected, and the 
slaves duly prepared for the rational enjoy- 
ment of freedom. 

"Poor B. died from the effects of climate, 
and the proscription of myself after the 10th 
of August, followed by the confiscation of my 
estates, put a period to this work, begun un- 
der auspices the most favorable, continued 
with success; and a happy accomplishment 
was alone denied by the decree of the Conven- 
tion, which destroyed the whole colonial sys- 
tem, by sudden and unconditional emancipa- 
tion, and its consequent horrors, in the colonies 
of France. 

" But to the proof. On the Lafayette estates 
the emancipated slaves came in a body to the 
agents, and declared that, if the property still 
belonged to the general, they would reassume 
j their labors for the use and benefit of him who 
had caused them to experience an ameliomted 
' condition of bondage, with the certain pros- 
I pect of gradual emancipation, and the rational 
enjoyment of freedom." — S^.e^ African {^Coloni- 
zation) Repository, April, 1825. 



General Lafayette further says, in his con- 
versations with Mr. Custis : 

" I have been so long the friend of emanci- 
pation, particularly as regards these otherwise 
happy States, that I behold with the sincerest 
pleasure the commencement of an institution, 
whose progress and termination will, I trust, 
be attended by the most successful results. I 
shall probably not live to witness the vast 
changes in the condition of man which are 
about to take place in the world ; but the era 
is already commenced, its progress is apparent, 
its end is certain. France will ere long give 
freedom to her few colonies. In England, the 
Parliament leaders, urged by the people, will 
urge the Government to some acts preparatory 
to the emancipation of her slaveholding colo- 
nies. Already she is looking with much anx- 
iety towards her East India possessions, for 
supplies of sugar, raised by free labor. England 
is, in fact, rich enough to buy up her slave 
property, and the current of public opinion 
sets so decidedly against slavery, in all its forms, 
that if the people and Government unite, it 
must soon cease to exist in the English pos- 
sessions. South America is crushing the evil 
at her first entrance upon political regenera- 
tion; she will reap rich harvests of political 
and individual prosperity and aggrandizement 
by this wholesale measure. Where, then, my 
dear sir, will be the last foothold of slavery 
in the world? Is it destined to be the oppro- 
brium of this fine country? Again: you will, 
in time, have an accession of at least three 
free States in this Union — Maryland, Virginia, 
and Kentucky. 

"In these three Commonwealths there is 
nothing groAvn which may not be produced by 
free, labor^ neither is the climate inimical to 
the white man, but the reverse. 

"In the course of the next half century, the 
changes which I have foretold will probably 
come to pass ; and if they should, what, my 
dear sir, will be the condition of our friends in 
the extreme South and Southwest of the United 
States? As slavery declines in the other 
States, its migration will tend directly to those 
regions as its last place of refuge. May we 
not hope that this will be deemed a matter of 
serious consideration, worthy of the labors of 
philosphers and philanthropists, and of all 
who feel an interest in the safety and well 
being of a large portion of the American 
family ? 

"The views and labors of the society are 
directed to the removal of free persons of color 
only, but there will be no want of emigrants, 
should that great object be successfully ac- 
complished, as in the munificent instance of 
Mr. Minge, of Virginia, who, for an individual, 
has done an act worthy of a community, and is 
entitled to the most unqualified and enthusias- 
tic praise. No doubt, many proprietors will 
follow this generous and noble example, per- 
haps not on so large a scale ; but a little from 
many soon becomes a great deal. Again : as 
few proprietors could afford to part with so 

valuable a portion of their property without 
some equivalent, they might be disposed to 
enable this property to pay for itself on some 
plan like one I have seen proposed." — See Af- 
rican [Colonization) Repository, November, 1825. 

From the African [Colonization) Repository, 
July, 1825. 

The Reverend Mr. Meade's address was de- 
livered to a crowded audience in Winchester, 
Virginia, on the Fourth of July. He said : 

"But should any ask, has the American 
Colonization Society no greater object in its 
ultimate view than the improvement of the 
condition of those just described ? We answer, 
yes. It has a design and a hope which reaches 
forward to distant periods, and contemplates 
a far more extensive benefit — one which it has 
ever boldly avowed and gloried in. It hopes, 
by the successful establishment of a colony of 
these unfortunate beings, to invite the Ameri- 
can nation to a work of charity and of justice 
worthy of its great name ; it hopes soon to 
show to the pious and benevolent how and 
where they may accomplish a wish, near and 
dear to many hearts, which is now impossible; 
it hopes to point out to our several Legisla- 
tures, and even to the august council of this 
great nation, a way by which, with safety and 
advantage, they may henceforth encourage and 
facilitate that system of emancipation which 
they have almost forbidden. To such honor 
and usefulness does the American Colonization 
Society aspire, and thus hopes greatly to les- 
sen, if not entirely remove, at some distant 
day, one of the most tremendous evils that ever 
overhung a guilty nation upon earth, for in 
vain do we look through the annals of history 
for a country in like calamity with ours. 

"On this day, also, how much is expended 
in celebrating the Declaration of American 
Independence? And will it interrupt the re- 
joicings of this day to be reminded of one 
sacred duty due to suffering humanity — to 
weep with those that weep, as well as rejoice 
with those who rejoice? Is there not a danger 
that we will renew the crime of those in an- 
cient days, who chanted to the sound of the 
viol, and drank wine out of bowls, but were 
not grieved for the affliction of Joseph — felt 
not for him who was in bondage? In the 
midst of our laughter, might it not be well that 
our hearts be sometimes a little sorrowful to 
think how many of our fellow-creatures par- 
take not of our joy ; and if some happy scheme 
be devised and offered to us for diffusing a 
more general joy, should we not gladly adopt 
it, and thereby perhaps prevent our mirth from 
ending in heaviness? 

"But there is one consideration peculiar to 
this day, which I must not omit to notice. 
What is the age of that joy which is again 
renewed through the land? What year of 
our Independence is this upon which we are 
entering? It is the fiftieth — the first jubilee 



of American Independenc e. That word brings 
with it some sacred reflections, drawn frou. a 
holy volume, for which I trust all present feel 
8uch a becoming reverence that it can never 
f.eem amiss to refer to it. 

"It is there recorded that an ancient nation 
<vhich had been delivered from oppressive tyr- 
anny by the hand of God, and by that hand 
conducted to a promised land, was directed, 
on the fiftieth year after entering upon its in- 
heritance, to celebrate a jubilee — one remark- 
able circumstance of which celebration was, 
that those who were in bondage should be- 
come freemen ; and this they were to do, re- 
membering that their fathers were once bonds- 
men in Egypt. 

"How forcibly, then, on this first American 
jubilee, should we feel the claim of a society 
having such views and hopes as, the one for 
which we plead. While it were vanity to 
hope, and worse than madness to attempt, by 
one act or elfect to remove such an evil as that 
which presses upon our country, yet surely, 
in gratitude to Heaven for our own unparalleled 
blessings, we should rejoice to patronize any 
measure which, under the guidance of a pru- 
dent zeal, may restore lost rights to thousands, 
meliorate the condition of those whose free- 
dom is but a name, and thus be gradually 
diminishing a calamity which otherwise must 
increase, until it burst with overwhelming 
ruin on some future and unhappy generation. 

" While, therefore, with sorrowing hearts 
we are forced to look upon large numbers of 
these, our fellow-beings, as doomed, for along 
period to come, to remain under the yoke of 
servitude, let us zealously attempt to lessen 
that number, and lighten that yoke as much as 
possible. Then may we, with clear consciences 
and thankful hearts, rejoice before Heaven on 
each return of this day, for the many blessings 
poured out upon us. Thus shall we stand 
acquitted to our children of having entailed 
upon them, without an effort at removal, one 
of the most deadly evils that ever aflQicted a 


"The General Assembly of the Presbyterian 
Church, convened in Philadelphia, June, 1818, 
having taken into consideration the subject of 
Slavery, think proper to make known their 
sentiments upon it to the churches and people 
under their care. 

"We consider the voluntary enslaving of 
one part of the human race by another, as a 
gross violation of the most precious and sacred 
rights of human nature; as utterly inconsist- 
ent with the law of God, which requires us to 
love our neighbor as ourselves ; and as totally 
irreconcilable with the spirit and principles of 
the Gospel of Christ, which enjoin, that 'all 
things whatsoever ye would that men should 
do to you, do ye even so to them.' Slavery 
creates a paradox in the moral system — it ex- 
hibits rational, accountable, and immortal I 

beings, in such circumstances as scarcely to 
leave them the power of moral action. It ex- 
hibits them as dependent on the will of others 
whether they shall receive religious iustrucii on ; 
whether they shall know and worship the true 
God; whether they shall enjoy the ordinances 
of the Gospel; whether they shall perform the 
duties and cherish the endearments of hus- 
bands and wives, parents and children, neigh- 
bors and friends; whether they shall preserve 
their chastity and purity, or regard the dictates 
of justice or humanity. Such are some of the 
consequences of slavery — consequences not 
imaginary — but which connect themselves 
with its very existence. The evils to which 
the slave is always exposed often take place in 
fact, and in their very worst degree and form ; 
and where all of them do not take place, as 
we rejoice to say that in many instances, 
through the influence of the principles of hu- 
manity and religion on the minds of masters, 
they do not — still the slave is deprived of his 
natural right, degraded as a human being, and 
exposed to the danger of passing into the 
hands of a master who may inflict upon him 
all the hardships and injuries which inhuman- 
ity and avarice may suggest. 

"From thisvicAvof the consequences result- 
ing from the practice into which Christian 
people have most inconsistently fallen, of en- 
slaving a portion of their brethren of mankind, 
(for 'God hath made of one blood all nations 
of men to dwell on all the face of the earth,') 
it is manifestly the duty of all Christians who 
enjoy the light of the present day, when the 
inconsistency of slavery, both with the dictates 
of humanity and religion, has been demon- 
strated, and is generally seen and acknowl- 
edged, to use their honest, earnest, and un- 
wearied endeavors to correct the errors of 
former times, and as speedily as possible to 
efface this blot on our holy religion, and 
to obtain the complete abolition of slavery 
throughout Christendom, and, if possible, 
throughout the world. 

" We rejoice that the church to which we be- 
long commenced as early as any other in this 
country the good work of endeavoring to put 
an end to slaverj', and that in the same work 
many of its members have ever since been, and 
now are, among the most active, vigorous, and 
efficient laborers. We do, indeed, tenderly 
sympathize with those portions of our church 
and our country where the evil of slavery has 
been entailed upon them ; where a great and 
the most virtuous part of the community abhor 
slavery, and wish its extermination as sin- 
cerely as any others ; but where the number 
of slaves, their ignorance, and their vicious 
habits generally, render an immediate and 
universal emancipation inconsistent alike with 
the safety and happiness of the master and the 
slave. With those who are thus circumstanced, 
we repeat that we tenderly sympathize. At 
the same time, we earnestly exhort them to 
continue, and, if possible, to increase their ex- 
ertions to effect a total abolition of slavery. 
I We exhort them to suffer no greater delay to 



take place in this most interesting concern 
than ii regard to the public welfare truly and 
iiidispensably demands. 

"As our country has inflicted a most griev- 
ous injury on the unhappy Africans, by bring- 
ing them into slavery, we cannot, indeed, urge 
that we should add a second injury to the first, 
by emancipating them in such a manner as 
that they will be likely to destroy themselves 
or others. But we do think that our country 
ought to be governed in this matter by no 
other consideration than an honest and im- 
partial regard to the happiness of the injured 
party, uninfluenced by the expense or incon- 
venience which such a regard may involve. 
We therefore warn all who belong to our de- 
nomination of Christians against unduly ex- 
tending this plea of necessity; against making 
it a cover for the love and practi.ce of slavery, 
or a pretence for not using efibrts that are 
lawful and practicable to extinguish the 

"And we, at the same time, exhort others to 
forbear harsh censures and uncharitable re- 
flections on their brethren who unhappily live 
among slaves whom they cannot immediately 
set free, but who, at the same time, are really 
using all their influence and all their endeav- 
ors to bring them into a state of freedom as 
soon as a door for it can be safely opened. 

"Having thus expressed our views of slavery, 
and of the duty indispensably incumbent on 
all Christians to labor for its complete extinc- 
tion, we proceed to recommend (and we do it 
with all the earnestness and solemnity which 
this momentous subject demands) a particular 
attention to the following points : 

[Here follows a recommendation of the Col- 
onization Society — an injunction of the duty 
of imparting religious instruction to slaves, 
and of punishing cruelty to slaves, or sepa- 
ration of families, by suspension from the 

"Passed by the unanimous vote of the General 
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the 
United States, and signed, by their order, by 
J. J. Janeway, Moderator. 
Philadelphia^ June 2, 1818." 


The Union Colonization Society, Delaware, 
held its annual meeting at Wilmington, on the 
I7th November last. The influence of the 
colored population of our country upon its 
agriculture is thus stated by the Society : 

" It depreciates our soil, lessens our agricul- 
tural revenue, and, like the lean kine of Egypt, 
eats up the fat of the land. It will hardly ad- 
mit of a question, but that the Southern sec- 
tion of our country would, in a few years, be 
richer' without one slave than it is now with 
1,600,000. Virginia, with 63,000 square miles 
of territory, (and that well suited to agricul- 

ture,) and 450,000 slaves, is valued less than 
the very land of New York State, a tract of 
about two-thirds its size." — See African [Colo- 
nization) Repository^ January, 1826. 


The fifth annual meeting of the Norfolk 
(Va.) Auxiliary Society, took place on the 2d 
January, 1826. We copy the following from 
the Society's Report: 

"At the same time, also, we shall have made 
some reparation, according to our ability, to 
an injured quarter of the globe, for the wrongs 
that we have done her, by giving her in our 
colony another fortress against the piracy of 
the slave trade, and a seminary for the instruc- 
tion of her children in all the happy arts of 
our own civilized country. In the mean time, 
too, whilst we are doing this, we shall have 
indirectly but powerfully aided the cause of 
emancipation, by establishing a city of refuge, 
a safe asylum, to which the pious and humane 
may send out their liberated slaves, without 
injury to them or to the community, but with 
the greatest advantage to both. We shall also 
have awakened the minds of our peo,ple to a 
deep consideration of their duty and interest 
in putting away the whole of this black and 
menacing evil, gradually, safely, and most 
happily, from our land. And we shall have 
pointed out to those who wield the power of 
the people in our legislative halls, in what 
manner they might use that power for the 
purest and noblest ends, and to promote all 
the best and truest interests of our State and 

"The establishment of the new republics of 
South America, and the consequent emanci- 
pation of large classes of their population here- 
tofore held in bondage, must naturally re- 
double all our efforts to imitate their example, 
in its spirit and with those modifications only 
whicii our different circumstances should prop- 
erly suggest. The exertions too, which British 
politicians and philanthropists are making to 
raise the condition of their slaves in the West 
Indies, from absolute bondage to a partial par- 
ticipation in the rights of freemen, will increase 
the motives and the fiicilities to the execution 
of our own better scheme of removing our bond- 
men to a happy distance from our shores. The 
diffusion of the principle, too, that political 
economists are everywhere urging with so much 
force, that free labor is incontestably cheaper 
and more productive than slave, will invigorate 
all our appeals to benevolence, by adding the 
weight of interest to that of duty. And over 
and above all, we are not afraid nor ashamed to 
avow, in the faces of all the infidels in the world, 
that we build our hope of ultimate success on our 
faith in that sure word of prophecy which, as it 
authorizes us to expect that there shall be a 
day of universal holiness in the earth, warrants 
us also to believe that God, who sitteth in the 
heavens, and shapes and sways the purposes 



and acts of men to his own ends, {for he turn- 
eth the hearts of the people as the rivers of water 
are turned,) will himself find out and secure 
the ways and means to extinguish an evil, 
whose continued existence would be absolute- 
ly incompatible with all our notions of an era 
so happy and so divine. Wherefore, members 
and friends of the society, be ye steadfast, im- 
movable, always abounding in this work of the 
Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor 
cannot be in vain in the Lordy — See African 
(Colonization) Repository, January, 1826. 

[Mr. Key was District Attorney for the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, under General Jackson, a 
native of Maryland, and author of "The Star- 
Spangled Banner."] Extract from his address 
delivered at Philadelphia, to the Colonization 
Society, November 25th, 1828. See African 
( Colonization) Repository, December, 1828. 

" It remains only to show that the execution 
of the Society's plan will be followed by the 
consequence predicted, the promotion of eman- 
cipation. It is reasonable to expect such a 
consequence. Can any one believe that the 
States in which slavery exists desire its per- 
petuation; that they will not make an effort 
to relieve themselves from this evil, if a prac- 
ticable and safe plan be presented to them? 
Slaveholders are like other men, governed by 
the same feelings, influenced by the same mo- 
tives. Can it be supposed that they are in- 
sensible to their own interests? They see the 
injurious eflFects of the slave system; that the 
value of their land is lessened by it, the pro- 
gress of improvements retarded, the increase 
of population checked. If the people of Mary- 
land and Virginia, for example, have common 
sense and observation, they must see, they 
have seen, and do see, that their neighbors of 
Pennsylvania increase in wealth and popula- 
tion in a ratio far greater than theirs. At the 
first census, the number of inhabitants in 
Pennsylvania was little more than one-half 
that of Virginia; at the last, it was nearly 
equal. The increased value of lands and 
houses in Pennsylvania, in fifteen years, from 
1799 to 1814, exceeded that of Virginia, though 
her territory is much larger, upwards of 
$90,000,000. The lands in the latter State 
are as fertile as those of the former. No other 
cause can be assigned for this difference, than 
the existence in the one of an evil which 
has been removed from the other. There is, 
moreover, in each of the slaveholding States 
just mentioned, nearer and plainer proof of 
the bad effects of this evil in their institutions. 
There are counties wherein the slave popula- 
tion nearly equals the white, and others where 
the number of slaves is inconsiderable. In 
one county of Maryland, having but few slaves, 
the increase of population between 1810 and 
1820 amounted to many thousands; while in 

another, where the numbers of slaves and of 
whites are nearly the same, there was a decrease 
of almost a fifth of its whole population. Lands 
of similar quality bear very different prices in 
the two districts ; for farmers will not migrate 
to a slave country; and there is the same dif- 
ference in many other particulars of this na- 

"Nor is it only in reference to the value of 
property and improvement of their outward 
circumstances that the inconvenience of the 
present condition of things is felt and acknoAvl- 
edged. In respect of moral advantages, they 
have impediments peculiar to this unfortunate 
state of society. They cannot, with the same 
facility and benefit, have churches, schools, or 
other institutions for religious and intellectual 
improvement, such as are found in every neigh- 
borhood amidst the denser population of the 
Northern States. Not only have they no ac- 
cessions to their numbers by emigration from 
foreign countries or other States, but, where 
the slaves are numerous, the young people of 
the laboring classes, who grow up among 
them, are unwilling to work in the company 
of blacks, and feel their own station in society 
to be degraded. For this reason, such of them 
as are industrious and enterprising remove to 
the new settlements of free States, while the 
idle and dissolute remain. So that such dis- 
tricts lose their best and retain their worst 
population." — See African [Colonization) Re- 
pository, December, 1828. 

The specific purpose of the writer was to 
make some remarks on the "declaration and 
resolutions of the Synod of Kentucky, in refer- 
ence to slavery." The most important prin- 
ciples of that paper are, he thinks — 

" 1. The system of slavery (or involuntary 
and hereditary bondage) is sinful. 

"2. It is not sinful in an individual to re- 
tain his legal authority over those of his ser- 
vants whom he sincerely and conscientiously 
believes to be unfit for freedom, while he is, 
by the application of proper and vigorous 
means, preparing them for the right and bene- 
ficial enjoyment of liberty. 

"3. It is sinful in any individual to delay 
the commencement of these benevolent and 
conscientious labors, or to prosecute them de- 
ceitfully when they are commenced — thus re- 
tarding unnecessarily the day of complete 

After some remarks on transactions con- 
nected with the preparation of the document 
referred to, the reverend and learned gentle- 
man says: 

"Any person, who has ever attempted to 
draft a paper on so delicate and difficult a 
subject, knows how small is the probability of 



so iVaming the expressions f\s to guard against 
all erroneous inl'crences. Perhaps there might 
be advantageously substituted for the disputed 
phraseology, some modihcation of language 
more happy in expressing the idea that the mas- 
ter might, for a limited time, and simply with 
a view to the good of the bondman, retain his 
legal power without a violation of that holy 
law whieh requires us to do unto another that 
which we would that he should do unto us. 
There is no repugnance between this position 
and the position that the system of slavery is 
wrong. If I am a slaveholder, and have used 
no vigorous and conscientious efforts to qualify 
my slaves for freedom, I have sinned ; and if 
I now, earnestly and in good faith, set about 
the work of preparation, executing deeds of 
emancipation for my slaves, to take effect at 
a certain lixed period hereafter, by which pe- 
riod I may reasonably hope to be able to give 
them a suitable preparation — if I do all this, 
as duty requires — I do not expect my present 
conduct to cancel my past sin, but I do con- 
ceive that I am now making all the amends in 
my power. So far from sinning now^ my 
present course is virtuous and praiseworthy. 
There are three classes on whom the guilt of 
slavery rests : those who introduced the system 
among us; those who have assisted to perpet- 
uate it, either by actual efforts or by mere 
negligence ; and those are now refusing to co- 
operate in its extermination. Thus, in assert- 
ing the sinfulness of slavery and the innocence 
of gradual emancipation, we do not commit 
the absurdity of asserting that there is sin, 
and yet that no one is guilty ; we only assign 
the guilt to the real criminals. We shield the 
innocent from false imputation; we strike the 
serpent, while we spare the sufferer who is 
struggling in his coils. 

"The difference, then, between the gradual 
emancipator and the abolitionist is not a dif- 
ference as to the criminal nature of slavery — 
they agree in considering it an enormous evil — 
but it is a difference as to the best mode of 
getting rid of this evil. The gradualist ter- 
minates slavery by first changing the condition 
of his slaves into a kind of apprenticeship ; he 
organizes them into a class of probationei-s for 
freedom. He still retains for a time his author- 
ity over them, but exercises it for their good 
as well as his own; and thus prepares them, 
as speedily as possible, for the enjoyment of 
self-government. The abolitionist would put 
an cud to slavery by at once surrendering up 
to ihe slaves all his power over them; thus 
giving them the immediate and full enjoyment 
of absolute freedom. It seems strange that a 
reasonable and unprejudiced mind could hesi- 
tate for a moment in deciding against the lat- 
ter plan. An uneducated slave is little better 
than an infant with the stature of a man. To 
vest such a being with the power of absolute 
and uncontrolled self-government, is fraught 
not only with mischief to others around him, 
but with almost certain destruction to himself 
and misery to his offspring." — See African {^Col- 
onization) Repository^ April, 1835. 


A7i Address delivered by Rev. R. J. Brecken- 
ridge, of Ky., before the Colonization Society 
of Kentucky, at Frankfort, on the Qth day 
of January, 1831. 

When the great Lawgiver of the Jews was 
perfecting that remarkable feature of his code, 
by which, &i the end of every seven years, the 
debtor, the servant, and the oppressed, among 
the Hebrews, were to go out free among their 
brethren, he enforced its observance by the 
most striking and personal of all arguments : 
" Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bond- 
man in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy 
God redeemed thee." Again, after the lapse 
of a thousand years, when Israel was shorn of 
all her temporal glories, and the feeble remnant 
that gathered out of all the East around the 
sceptre of the house of David was restored 
from a long and grievous captivity, it was 
among the first and most solemn exclamations 
of their gratitude: "We were bondmen, yet 
our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage." 

If there be any that now hear my voice who 
have aided in working out the civil redemp- 
tion of this large empire ; if there be any 
whose kindred have poured out their blood in 
achieving the glories which have fallen upon 
us ; if there be any who cherish the high ex- 
ploits of our mighty ancestors, and cultivate 
an unquenching love for the free and noble in- 
stitutions which have descended to us, I be- 
seech them to couple with the lofty emotions 
belonging to such scenes, the solemn recollec- 
tion, that "we were bondmen." If any who 
hear me have been led, by the power of thft 
everlasting God, into the liberty of his own 
sons, and who, rejoicing in the hope of eternal 
life, look back upon the bondage out of which 
their souls have been redeemed, with unutter- 
able gratitude to Him who gave himself for 
them, I pray them to bring to the discussion 
which lies before us those feelings which are 
produced by the deep and sacred assurance, 
that " our God hath not forsaken us in our 

And will He not remember others also ? 
We have his own assurance, that " Ethiopia 
shall soon stretch out her hands unto God." 
Will his justice sleep forever? Will he not 
" behold the tears of such as are oppressed?" 
Will he not "judge the poor?" Will he not 
"save the children of the needy?" Will he 
not "break in pieces the oppressor?" The 
forsaken, the afflicted, the smitten of men, will 
he also utterly cast off? And who shall stand 
in the way of his righteous indignation ? Who 
shall resist the stroke of his Almighty arm, 
or shield us from his fierce and consuming 
wrath? Alas! for that people, who, resisting 
all the lessons of a wise experience, blind to 
the unchanging course of the providence of 
God, and deaf to the continual admonitions 
of his eternal Word, will madly elect to brave 
the fury of his just and full retribution ! "Be- 
' cause I have called, and ye refused; I have 
' stretched out my hand, and no man regarded ; 



* but 3^e hare set at nought all my counsel, and 

* would none of mj reproofs ; I also will laugh 
' at your calamity ; I will mock when your fear 

* Cometh; when your fear cometh as desola- 
' tion, and your destruction cometh as a whirl- 

* wind ; when distress and anguish cometh 
' upon you : Then shall they seek me, but 

* shall not find me." 

The first settlements which were made by 
the English on the continent of North Amer- 
ica were under the auspices of corporations, 
or individuals, to whom extensive grants had 
been made by the English Crown. The com- 
pany that settled the colony of Virginia had 
monopolized its commerce up to the year 1620. 
In that year this monopoly was given up, and 
the trade opened. A Dutch vessel from the 
coast of Guinea, availing itself of the com- 
mercial liberty which prevailed, brought into 
James river twenty Africans, who were imme- 
diately purchased as slaves. An ordinance 
tliat all heathen persons might be held as 
slaves, and that their descendants, though 
Christians, might be continued in slavery, 
sealed on this continent the doom of the 
/- wretched African. Such M'as the inception of 
slavery in the United States. Such was the 
first settlement among us of an oppressed and 
sulfering race, which has augmented by a 
very rapid propagation and continual import- 
ation, in somewhat more than two centuries, 
from tv.-enty souls to two millions. Virginia, 
the most ancient of our Commonwealths, was 
the first of them to lend herself to the op- 
pression of these unhappy men. Holland, 
who had, within forty years, emancipated her- 
self from a foreign despotism, used the large 
resources which grew up under the shade of 
her recovered libert}*, to deliver up an unof- 
fending people to hopeless bondage ; and that 
the climax of cupidity and turpitude might be 
aptly adjusted, the whole matter was concluded 
in the name of Christianity. 

Men were not so slow in discovering the 
evils of the unnatural condition of society, 
whose origin among us I have been attempt- 
ing to disclose. As early as 1698, a settle- 
ment of Quakers, near Germantown, in Penn- 
sj-lvania, publicly expressed their opinion of 
the unrighteousness of human bondage. And 
from that day till the present, there have flour- 
ished in our country men of large and just 
views, who have not ceased to pour over this 
subject a stream of clear and noble truth, and 
to importune their country, by every motive 
of duty and advantage, to wipe from her es- 
cutcheon the stain of human tears. They 
have not lived in vain. In better times their 
counsels will be heard. When the day comes, 
and come it surely will, when, throughout 
this broad empire not an aspiration shall go 
up to the throne of God, that does not emanate 
from a freeman's heart, they will live in story, 
the apostles of that hallowed reign of peace ; 
and men will quote their names to adorn the 
highest lessons of wisdom, and enforce, by 
great examples, the practice of high and vir- 

tuous actions. — See African [Colonization) i2e- 
pository^ August, 1831. 


Extract of a letter from General Robert Goodloe 
Harper, of Md., to Ettas B. Caldwell, Secretary 
of the American Colonization Society, dated 
Baltimore, August 20, 1817. — See First Annual 
Report of the Society. 

[General Harper was a native of Granville 
county. North Carolina — emigrated to South 
Carolina at an early period of his life, and 
represented Charleston District in Congress. 
He afterwards settled in Baltimore, married 
the daughter of Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, 
and became a United States Senator from 

Great, however, as the benefits are which 
we may thus promise ourselves from the col- 
onization of the free people of color, by its 
tendency to prevent the discontent and cor- 
ruption of our slaves, and to secure to them 
a better treatment, by rendering them more 
worthy of it, there is another advantage, in- 
finitely greater in every point of view, to which 
it may lead the way. It tends, and may pow- 
erfully tend, to rid us, gradually and entirely, 
in the United States, of slaves and slavery; a 
great moral and political evil, of increasing 
virulence and extent, from which much mis- 
chief is now felt, and very great calamity in 
future is justly apprehended. It is in this 
point of view, I confess, that your s.cheme of 
colonization most strongly recommends itself, 
in my opinion, to attention and support. The 
alarming danger of cherishing in our bosom a 
distinct nation, which c-an never become in- 
corporated with us, while it rapidly increases 
in numbers and improves in intelligence; 
learning from us the arts of peace and war, 
the secret of its own strength, and the talent 
of combining and directing its force — a nation 
which must ever be hostile to us, from feeling 
and interest, because it can never incorporate 
with us, nor participate in the advantages 
which we enjoy ; the danger of such a nation 
in our bosom need not be pointed out to any 
reflecting mind. It speaks not only to our 
understandings, but to our very senses; and 
however it may be derided by some, or over- 
looked by others, who have not the ability or 
the time, or do not give themselves the trouble 
to reflect on and estimate properly the force 
and extent of those great moral and physical 
causes which prepare gradually, and at length 
bring forth, the most terrible convulsions in 
civil society, it will not be viewed without deep 
and awful apprehension by any who shall 
bring sound minds and some share of political 
knowledge and sagacity to the serious consid- 
eration of the subject. Such persons will give 
their most serious attention to any proposition 
which has for its object the eradication of this 
terrible mischief, lurking in our vitals. I shall 
presently have occasion to advert a little to 



the manner in whicb your intended colony will 
conduce to this great end. It is therefore 
unnecessary to touch on it here. Indeed, it 
is too obvious to require much explanation. 

But, independently of this view of the case, 
there is enough in the proposed measure to 
command our attention and support, on the 
score of benefit to ourselves. 

No person who has seen the slaveholding 
States, and those where slavery does not exist, 
and has compared ever so slightly their con- 
dition and situation, can have failed to be 
struck with the vast difference in favor of the 
latter. This difference extends to everything, 
except only the character and manners of the 
most opulent and best-educated people. These 
are very much the same everywhere. But in 
population; in the general diffusion of wealth 
and comfort; in public and private improve- 
ments; in the education, manners, and mode 
of life, in the middle and laboring classes; in 
the face of the country; in roads, bridges, and 
inns; in schools and churches; in the general 
advancement of improvement and prosperity — 
there is no comparison. The change is seen 
the instant you cross the line Avhich separates 
the country where there are slaves from that 
where there are none. Even in the same State, 
the parts where slaves most abound are uni- 
formly the worst cultivated, the poorest, and 
the least populous ; while wealth and improve- 
ment uniformly increase as the number of 
slaves in the country diminishes. I might 
prove and illustrate this position by many ex- 
amples, drawn from a comparison of different 
States, as Maryland and Pennsylvania, and be- 
tween different counties in the same State, 
as Charles county and Frederick, in Maryland ; 
but it is unnecessary, because everybody who 
has seen the different parts of the country has 
been struck by this difference. 

Whence does it arise? I answer, from this: 
that in one division of the country the land is 
cultivated by freemen, for their own benefit, 
and in the other almost entirely by slaves, for 
the benefit of their masters. It is the obvious 
interest of the first class of laborers to produce 
as much and consume as little as possible, and 
of the second class to consume as much and 
produce as little as possible. What the slave 
consumes is for himself; what he produces is 
for his master. All the time that he can with- 
draw from labor is gained to himself; all that 
he spends in labor is devoted to his muster. 
All that the free laborer, on the contrary, can 
produce, is for himself; all that he can save, 
is so much added to his own stock. All the 
time that he loses from labor is his own loss. 

This, if it were all, would probably be quite 
sufficient to account for the whole difference 
in question. But, unfortunately, it is far from 
being all. Another, and a still more injurious 
effect of slaver}', remains to be considered. 

Where the laboring class is composed wholly, 
or in a very considerable degree, of slaves, and 
of slaves distinguished from the free class by 
color, features, and origin, the ideas of labor 
and of slavery soon become connected in the 

minds of the free class. This arises from that 
association of ideas which forms one of the 
characteristic features of the human mind, and 
with which every reflecting person is well ac- 
quainted. They who continually from their 
infancy see black slaves employed in labor, 
and forming by much the most numerous class 
of laborers, insensibly associate the ideas of 
labor and of slavery, and are almost irresistibly 
led to consic^er labor as a badge of slavery, and 
consequently as a degradation. To be idle, 
on the contrary, is in their view the mark and 
the privilege of freemen. The effect of this 
habitual feeling upon that class of free whites 
which ought to labor, and consequently upon 
their condition, and the general condition of 
the country, will be readily perceived by those 
who reflect on such subjects. It is seen in the 
vast difference between the laboring class of 
whites in the Southern and Middle, and those 
of the Northern and Eastern States. Why are 
the latter incomparably more industrious, more 
thriving, more orderly, more comfortably sit- 
uated, than the former? The effect is obvious 
to all those who have travelled through the 
different parts of our country. What is the 
cause? It is found in the association between 
the idea of slavery and the idea of labor, and 
in the feeling produced by this association, 
that labor, the proper occupation of negro 
slaves, and especially agricultural labor, is de- 
grading to a free white man. 

Thus we see that, where slavery exists, the 
slave labors as little as possible, because all 
the time that he can withdraw from labor is 
saved to his own enjoyments; and consumes 
as much as possible, because what he consumes 
belongs to his master; while the free white 
man is insensibly but irresistibly led to regard 
labor, the occupation of slaves, as a degra- 
dation, and to avoid it as much as he can. 
The effect of these combined and powerful 
causes, steadily and constantly operating in 
the same direction, may easily be conceived. 
It is seen in the striking diiference which ex- 
ists between the slaveholding sections of our 
country and those where slavery is not per- 

It is therefore obvious that a vast benefit 
would be conferred on the country, and espe- 
cially on the slaveholding districts, if all the 
slave laborers could be gradually and imper- 
ceptibly withdrawn from cultivation, and their 
place supplied by free white laborers — I say 
gradually and imperceptibly, because, if it 
were possible to withdraw, suddenly and at 
once, so great a portion of the effective labor 
of the community as is now supplied by slaves, 
it would be productive of the most disastrous 
consequences. It would create an immense 
void, which could not be filled; it would im- 
■poverish a great part of the community, un- 
hinge the whole frame of society in a large 
portion of the country, and probably end in 
the most destructive convulsions. But it is 
clearly impossible, and therefore we need not 
enlarge on the evils which it would produce. 

But to accomplish this great and beneficial 



change gradually and imperceptibly, to sub- 
stitute a free white class of cultivators for the 
slaves, with the consent of the owners, by a 
slow but steady and certain operation, I hold 
to be as practicable as it would be beneficial; 
and J regard this scheme of colonization as the 
first step in that great enterprise. 

This is what your society propose to accom- 
plish. Their project therefore, if rightly formed 
and well conducted, will open the way for this 
more extensive and beneficial plan of removing, 
gradually and imperceptibly, but certainly, the 
whole colored population from the country, 
and leaving its place to be imperceptibly sup- 
plied, as it would necessarily be, by a class of 
free white cultivators. In every part of the 
country, this operation must necessarily be 
slow. In the Southern and Southwestern 
States it will be very long before it can be ac- 
complished, and a very considerable time must 
probably elapse before it can ev^en commence. 
It will begin first, and be first completed, in the 
Middle States, where the evils of slavery are 
most sensibly felt, the desire of getting rid of 
the slaves is already strong, and a greater fa- 
cility exists of supplying their place by white 
cultivators. From thence it will gradually 
extend to the South and Southwest, till, by its 
steady, constant, and imperceptible operation, 
the evils 'of slavery shall be rooted out from 
every part of the United States, and the slaves 
themselves, and their posterity, shall be con- 
verted into a free, civilized, and great nation, 
in the country from which their progenitors 
were dragged, to be wretched themselves and 
a curse to the whites. 

Report in the House of Representatives^ by John 
Randolph^ of Roanoke^ as chairman of a Com- 
mittee^ in March, 1803. 

From the Convention held at Vincennes, in 
Indiana, by their President, and from the peo- 
ple of the Territory, a petition was presented 
to Congress, praying the suspension of the 
provision which prohibited slavery in that 
Territory. The report stated " that the rapid 
population of the State of Ohio sufficiently 
evinces, in the opinion of your committee, that 
the labor of slaves is not necessary to promote 
the growth and settlement of colonies in that 
region. That this labor, demonstrably the 
dearest of any, can only b6 employed to ad- 
vantage in the cultivation of products more 
valuable than any known to that q\iarter of 
the United States ; that the committee deem it 
highly dangerous and inexpedient to impair a 
provision wisely calculated to promote the 
happiness and prosperity of the Northwestern 
country, and to give strength and security to 
that extensive frontier. In the salutarj' opera- 
tion of this sagacious and benevolent restraint, 
it is believed that the inhabitants will, at no 
very distant day, find ample remuneration for 
a temporary privation of labor and emigra- 
tion. — 1 vol. Slate Papers, Public Lands, 160. 

The United States having been the first to 
abolish, within the extent of their authority, 
the transportation of the natives of Africa 
into slavery, by prohibiting the introduction 
of slaves, and by punishing their citizens 
participating in the traffic, cannot but be grati- 
fied by the progress made by concurrent efi'orts 
of other nations towards a general suppression 
of so great an evil. They must feel, at the 
same time, the greater solicitude to give the 
fullest efficacy to their own regulations. With 
that view, the interposition of Congress ap- 
pears to be required, by the violations and 
evasions which, it is suggested, are chargeable 
on unworthy citizens, who mingle in the slave 
trade under foreign flags, and with foreign 
ports ; and by collusive importations of slaves 
into the United States, through adjoining 
ports and territories. I present the subject to 
Congress, with a full assurance of their dis- 
position to apply all the remedy which can be 
afi:brded by an amendment of the law. The 
regulations which were intended to guard 
against abuses of a kindred character in the 
trade between the several States, ought also 
to be more effectual for their humane object. — 
3Iessage to Congress, Dec. 3, 1816. 

It is the cause of serious regret, that no ar- 
rangement has yet been finally concluded be- 
tween the two Governments, to secure, by joint 
co-operation, the suppression of the slave trade. 
It was the object of the British Government, 
in the early stages of the negotiation, to adopt 
the plan for the suppression which should 
include the concession of the mutual right of 
search by the ships of war of each party, of 
the vessels of the other, for suspected offend- 
ers. This was objected to by this Govern- 
ment, on the principle that, as the right of 
search was the right of war of a belligerenl 
towards a neutral power, it might have an 
ill effect to extend it, by treaty, to an offence 
that had been made comparatively mild, to 
a time of peace. Anxious, however, for the 
suppression of this trade, it was thouglit ad- 
visable, in compliance with a resolution of 
the House of Representatives, founded on an 
act of Congress, to propose to the British 
Government an expedient which should be free 
from that objection, and more effectual for the 
object, by making it piratical. In that mode, 
the enormity of the crime would place the 
offenders out of the protection of their Gov- 
ernment, and involve no question of search, or 
other question, between the parties, touching 
their respective rights. It was believed, also, 
that it would completely suppress the trade in 
the vessels of both parties, and by their re- 
spective citizens and subjects, in those of other 
powers with whom, it was hoped, that the 
odium which would thereby be attached to it, 
would produce a corresponding arrangement, 
and, by means thereof, its entire extirpation 
forever. A convention to this effect was con- 



eluded and signed in London, on the thirteenth 
day of March, one thousand eight hundred 
and twentj^-four, by plenipotentiaries duly au- 
thorized by both Governments, to the ratifica- 
tion of which certain obstacles have arisen, 
•which are not yet entirely removed. The dif- 
ference between the parties still remaining 
has been reduced to a point not of sufficient 
magnitude, as is presumed, to be permitted to 
defeat an object so near to the heart of both 
nations, and so desirable to the friends of hu- 
manity throughout the world. — Message to Con- 
gress, December 7, 1824. 

The following is Gen. Jackson's Address to the 
Men of Color,'' on the ISth December, 1814, 
at New Orleans : 

Soldiers : From the shores of Mobile I col- 
lected you to arms. I invited you to share in 
the perils aiid to divide the glory of your white 
countrymen. • I expected much from you, for I 
was not uninformed of those qualities which 
must render you so formidable to an invading 
foe. I knew that you could endure hunger 
and thirst, and all the hardships of war. I 
knew that you loved the land of your nativity, 
and that, like ourselves, you had to defend all 
that is most dear to man — but you surpass my 
hopes. I have found in yoti, united to those qual- 
ities, that noble enthusiasm which impels to great 

Soldiers : The President of the United 
States shall be informed of your conduct on 
the present occasion, and the voice of the 
Representatives of the American Nation shall 
applaud your valor, as your general now 
praises your ardor. The enemy is near ; his 
" sails cover the lakes ; " but the brave are 
united, and if he finds us contending among 
ourselves, it will be for the prize of valor, and 
fame, its noblest reward. 

By command. Thos. L. Butler, 

Aid de Camp. 
\_See Niles's Register, Vol. VII, p. 346.] 


While the Convention for drafting the Con- 
stitution of the United States was in session, 
in 1787, the Old Congress passed an ordinance 
abolishing slavery in the Northwestern Terri- 
tory, and precluding its future introduction 
there. The first Congress under the new Con- 
stitution ratified this ordinance, by a special 
act. It received the approval of Washington, 
who Avas then fresh from the discussions of 
the Convention for drafting the Federal Con- 
stitution. The measure originated with Jeffer- 
son, and its ratification in the new Congress 
received the vote of every member except Mr. 
Yates, of N ew York, the entire Southern delegation 
voting for its adoption. By this ordinance, sla- 
very was excluded from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, 
Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. 

The series of articles is preceded by this 

"And for extending the fundamental princi- 

ples of civil and religious liberty, which form 
the basis whereon these Republics, their laws 
and Constitutions, are erected; to fix and es- 
tablish those principles as the basis of all laws, 
Constitutions, and governments, which forever 
hereafter shall be formed in said Territory; to 
provide, also, for the establishment of States, 
and permanent government therein, and for 
their admission to a share in the Federal coun- 
cils, at as early a period as may be consistent 
with the general interest: Be it ordained and 
established," &c., &c. 

Then follow the articles. The sixth is as 

"There shall be neither slavery nor invol- 
untary servitude, otherwise than in the pun- 
ishment of crimes, whereof the party shall 
have been duly convicted: Provided, always, 
That any person escaping into the same, from 
whom labor or service may be lawfully claimed 
in any one of the original States, such fugitive 
may be lawfully reclaimed, and conveyed to 
the person claiming his or her labor or service, 
as aforesaid." 


No case in England, says Judge McLean, 
appears to have been more thoroughly exam- 
ined than that of Somersett. The judgment 
pronounced by Lord Mansfield was the judg- 
ment of the Court of King's Bench. The cause 
was argued at great length, and with great 
ability, by Hargrave and others, who stood 
among the most eminent counsel in England. 
It was held under advisement from term to 
term, and a due sense of its importance was 
felt and expressed by the Bench. 

In giving the opinion of the court, Lord 
Mansfield said: 

" The state of slavery is of such a nature that 
it is incapable of being introduced on any rea- 
sons, moral or political, but only by positive 
law, which preserves its force long after the 
reasons, occasion, and time itself, from whence 
it was created, is erased from the memory; it 
is of a nature that nothing can be sutt'ered to 
support it but positive law." 

In the case of Rankin v. Lydia, (2 A. K. Mar- 
shall's Rep.,) Judge Mills, speaking for the 
Court of Appeals of Kentucky, says: "In de- 
ciding the question, (of slavery,) we disclaim 
the infiuence of the principles of general liber- 
ty, which we all admire, and conceive it ought 
to be decided by the law as it is, and not as it 
ought to be. Slavery is sanctioned by the 
laws of this State, and the right to hold slaves 
under our municipal regulations is unquestion- 
able. But we view this as a right existing by 
positive law of a municipal character, without 
foundation in the laAV of nature, or the unwrit- 
ten and common law." 

In the discussion of the power of Congress 
to govern a Territory, in the case of the Atlan- 
tic Insurance Company v. Canter, (1 Peters, 
511; 7 Curtis, 685,) Chief Justice Marshall, 



speaking for the court, said, in regard to the 
people of Florida, "they do not, however, par- 
ticipate in political power; they do not share 
in the Government till Florida shall become a 
State; in the mean time, Florida continues to 
be a Territory of the United States, governed 
by virtue of that clause in the Constitution 
which empoAvers Congress *to make all need- 
ful rules and regulations respecting the terri- 
tory or other property belonging to the United 

And he adds, "perhaps the power of gov- 
erning a Territory belonging to the United , 
States, which has not, by becoming a State, | 
acquired the means of self-government, may | 
result necessarily from the fact that it is not 
within the jurisdiction of any particular Slate, i 
and is within the power and jurisdiction of the ; 
Unlt^-d States. The right to govern may be 
the inevitable consequence of the right to ac- \ 
quire territory ; whichever may be the source 
whence the power is derived, the possession 
of it is unquestioned." And in the close of ; 
the opinion, the court say, "in legislating for 
them, [the Territories,] Congress exercises the ; 
combined powers of the General and State 
Governments." — 

In the case of Prigg v. The State of Penn- 
sylvania, the court says: 

" By the general law of nations, no nation 
is bound to recognise the state of slavery as 
found within its territorial dominions, where 
it is in opposition to its own policy and insti- 
tutions, in favor of the subjects of other nations 
where slavery is organized. If it does it, it 
is as a matter of comity, and not as a matter 
of international right. The state of slavery 
is deemed to be a mere municipal regulation, 
founded upon and limited to the range of the 
territorial laws." And the court further says: 
"It is manifest, from this consideration, that 
if the Constitution had not contained the clause 
requiring the rendition of fugitives from labor, 
every non-slaveholding State in the Union 
would have been at liberty to have declared 
free all runaway slaves coming within its 
limits, and to have given them entire immu- 
nity and protection against the claims of their 
masters." — 

Rachel v. Walker (4 Missouri Rep., 350. June 
term, 1836) is a case involving, in every par- 
ticular, the principles of the case before us. 
Rachel sued for her freedom ; and it appeared 
that she had been bought as a slave in Mis- 
souri, by Stockton, an officer of the army, 
taken to Fort Snelling, where he was stationed, 
and she was retained there as a slave a year; 
and then Stockton removed to Prairie du Chicn, 
taking Rachel with him as a slave, Avhere he 
continued to hold her three years, and then he 
took her to the State of Missouri, and sold her 
as a slave. 

"Fort Snelling was admitted to be on the 
west side of the Mississippi river, and north of 
the State of Missouri, in the territory of the 
United States. That Prairie du Chien was in 
the Michigan Territory, on the east side of the 

Mississippi river. "Walker, the defendant, held 
Rachel under Stockton." 

i The court said, in this case : 

"The officer lived in Missouri Territory at 
the time he bought the slave; he sent to a 
slaveholding country and procured her; this 
was his voluntary act, done without any other 
reason than that of his convenience; and he 
and those claiming under him must be holden 
to abide the consequences of introducing sla- 
very both in Missouri Territory and Michigan, 
contrary to law; and on that ground Rachel 
was declared to be entitled to freedom." 

In answer to the argument that, as an officer 
of the army, the master had a right to take his 
slave into free territory, the court said no au- 
thority of law or the Government compelled 
him to keep the plaintiff there as a slave. 

"Shall it be said, that because an officer of 
the army owns slaves in Virginia, that when, 
as an officer and soldier, he is required to take 
tlie command of a fort in the non-slaveholding 
States or Territories, he thereby has a right to 
take with him as many slaves as will suit his 
interests or convenience? It surely cannot be 
law. If this be true, the court say, then it is 
also true that the convenience or supposed 
convenience of the officer re])eals, as to him 
and others who have the same character, the 
ordinance and the act of 1821, admitting Mis- 
souri into the Union, and also the prohibition 
of the several laws and Constitutions of the 
non-slaveholding States." 

In the case of Dred Scott v. Emerson, (15 Mis- 
souri Rep., 682, March term, 1852,) two of tho 
judges ruled the case, the Chief Justice dis- 

Chief Justice Gamble dissented from the other 
two judges. He says : 

"In every slaveholding State in the Union, 
the subject of emancipation is regulated by 
statute; and the forms are prescribed in which 
it shall be effected. Whenever the forms re- 
quired by the laws of the State in which the 
master and slave are resident are complied 
with, the emancipation is complete, and the 
slave is free. If the right of the person thus 
emancipated is subsequently drawn in question 
in another State, it will be ascertained and 
determ ined by the law of the State in which 
the slave and his former master resided ; and 
Avhen it appears that such lav,- has been com- 
plied with, the right to freedom will be fully 
sustained in the courts of all the slaveholding 
States, although the act of emancipation may 
not be in the form required by law in which 
the court sits. 

"In all such cases, courts continually ad- 
minister the law of the country where the right 
was acquired; and when that law becomes 
known to the court, it is just as much a matter 
of course to decide the rights of the parties 
according to it requirements, as it is to settle 
the title of real estate situated in our State by 
its own laws." 

This appears to me a most satisfactory an- 



swer to the argument of the court. Chief Jus- 
tice continues: 

" The perfect equality of the different States 
lies at the foundation of the Union. As the 
institution of slavery in the States is one over 
which the Constitution of the United States 
gives no power to the General Government, it 
is left to be adopted or rejected by the several 
States, as they think best; nor can anyone 
State, or number of States, claim the right to 
interfere with any other State upon the ques- 
tion of admitting or excluding this institution. 

•'A citizen of Missouri, who removes with 
his slave to Illinois, has no right to complain 
that the fundamental law of that State to which 
he removes, and in which he makes his resi- 
dence, dissolves the relation between him and 
his slave. It is as much his own voluntary 
act. as if he had executed a deed of emancipa- 
tion. No one can pretend ignorance of this 
constitutional provision, and," he says, "the 
decisions which have heretofore been made in 
this State, and in many otlier slaveholding 
States, give effect to this and other similar 
provisions, on the ground that the master, by 
making the free State the residence of his 
slave, has submitted his right to the operation 
of the law of such State; and this," he says, 
" is the same in law as a regular deed of eman- 

He adds: 

"I regard the question as conclusively set- 
tled by the repeated adjudications of this court, 
and, if I doubted or denied the propriety of 
those decisions, I would not feel myself any 
more at liberty to overturn them, than I would 
any other series of decisions by which the law 
of any other question was settled. There is 
with me," he says, "nothing in the law rela- 
ting to slavery which distinguishes it from the 
law on any other subject, or allows any more 
accommodation to the temporary public ex- 
citements which are gathered around it." 

"In this State," he says, "it has been recog- 
nised from the beginning of the Government 
Bs a correct position in law, that a master who 
takes his slave to reside in a State or Territory 
where slavery is prohibited, thereby emanci- 
pates his slave." — 

In 1851, the Court of Appeals of South Car- 
olina recognised the principle, that a slave, 
being taken to a free State, became free. (Com- 
monwealth v. Pleasants, 10 Leigh Rep., 697.) 
In Betty v. Horton, the Court of Appeals held 
that the freedom of the slave was acquired by 
the action of the laws of Massachusetts, by the 
said slave being taken there. (5 Leigh R., 615.) 

In the case of Spencer v. Negro Dennis, (8 
Gill's Rep., 321,) the court say: "Once free, 
and always free, is the maxim of Maryland law 
upon the subject. Freedom having once vested, 
by no compact between the master and the 
liberated slave, nor by any condition subse- 
quent, attached V.y the master to the gift of 
freedom, can a state of slavery be reproduced." 
In Hunter v. Bulcher, (1 Leigh, 172:) 
''By a statute of Maryland of 1796, all slaves 

brought into that State to reside are declared 
free; a Virginian-born slave is carried by his 
master to Maryland ; the master settled there, 
and keeps the slave there in bondage for tAvelve 
years, the statute in force all the time; then 
he brings him as a slave to Virginia, and sells 
him there. Adjudged, in an action brought 
by the man against the purchaser, that he ia 

Judge Kerr, in the case, says: 

"Agreeing, as I do, with the general view 
taken in this case by my brother Green, I would 
not add a word, but to mark the exact extent 
to which I mean to go. The law of Maryland 
having enacted that slaves carried into that 
State for sale or to reside shall be free, and 
the owner of the slave here having carried 
him to Maryland, and voluntarily submitting 
himself and the slave to that law, it governs 
the case." — 

Josephine v. Poultney, (Louisiana An. Rep., 
329,) "where the owner removes with a slave 
into a State in which slavery is prohibited, 
with the intention of residing there, the slave 
will be thereby emancipated, and their subse- 
quent return to the State of Louisiana cannot 
restore the relation of master and slave." To 
the same import are the cases of Smith v. Smith, 
(13 Louisiana Rep., 441,) Thomas v. Generis, 
(Louisiana Rep., 483,) Harry et al. v. Decker 
and Hopkins, (Walker's Mississippi Rep., 36.) 
It was held that "slaves within the jurisdic- 
tion of the Northwestern Territory became 
freemen by virtue of the Ordinance of 1787, 
and can assert their claim to freedom in the 
courts of Mississippi." (Griffith v. Fanny, 1 
Virginia Rep., 143.) It was decided that a 
negro held in servitude in Ohio, under a deed 
executed in Virginia, is entitled to freedom by 
the Constitution of Ohio. 

The case of Rhodes v. Bell (2 Howard, 307; 
15 Curtis, 152) involved the main principle in 
the case befoi-e us. A person residing in Wash- 
ington city purchased a slave in Alexandria, 
and brought him to Washington. AVashington 
continued under the law of Maryland, Alexan- 
dria under the law of Virginia. The act of 
Maryland of November, 1796, (2 Maxcy's Laws, 
351,) declared any one w^ho shall bring any 
negro, mulatto, or other slave, into Maryland, 
such slave should be free. The above slave, 
by reason of his being brought into Washing- 
ton city, was declared by this court to be free. 
This, it appears to me, is a much stronger case 
against the slave than the facts in the case of 
Scott. — 

In Bush V. White, (3 Monroe, 104,) the court 

" That the ordinance was paramount to the 
Territorial laws, and restrained the legislative 
power there as effectually as a Constitution in 
an organized State. It was a public act of the 
Legislature of the Union, and a part of the 
supreme law of the land; and, as such, this 
court is as much bound to take notice of it as 
I it can be of any other law." 



In the case of Rankin v. Lydia, before cited, 
Judge Mills, speaking for the Court of Appeals 
of Kentucky, says: 

" If, by the positive provision in our code, 
we can and must hold our slaves in the one 
case, and statutory provisions equally positive 
decide against that right in the other, and 
liberate the slave, he must, by an authority 
equally imperious, be declared free. Every 
argument which supports the right of the mas- 
ter on one side, based upon the force of written 
law, must be equally conclusive in favor of the 
slave, when he can point out in the statute the 
clause which secures his freedom." 

And he further said: 

"Free people of color in all the States are, 
it is believed, quasi citizens, or, at least, deni- 
zens. Although none of the States may allow 
them the privilege of office and suffrage, yet 
all other civil and conventional rights are se- 
cured to them; at least, such rights were evi- 
dently secured to them by the ordinance in 
question for the government of Indiana. If 
these rights are vested in that or any other 
portion of the United States, can it be com- 
patible with the spirit of our Confederated 
Government to deny their existence in any 
other part? Is there less comity existing 
between State and State, or State and Ter- 
ritory, than exists between the despotic Gov- 
ernments of Europe?" 

The Supreme Court of North Carolina, in 
the case of the State v. Manuel, (4 Dev. and 
Bat., 20,) has declared the law of that State 
on this subject, in terms which I believe to be 
as sound law in the other States I have enu- 
merated, as it was in North Carolina. 

" According to the laws of this State," says 
Judge Gaston, in delivering the opinion of 
the court, "all human beings within it, who 
are not slaves, fall within one of two classes. 
"Whatever distinctions may have existed in the 
Roman laws between citizens and free inhab- 
itants, they are unknown to our institutions. 
Before our Revolution, all free persons born 
within the dominions of the King of Great 
Britain, whatever their color or complexion, 
were native-born British subjects — those born 
out of his allegiance were aliens. Slavery did 
not exist in England, but it did in the British 
colonies. Slaves were not in legal parlance 
persons, but property. The moment the in- 
capacity, the disqualification of slavery, was 
removed, they became persons, and were then 
either British subjects, or not British subjects, 
according as they were or were not born within 
the allegiance of the British King. Upon the 
Revolution, no other change took place in the 
laws of North Carolina than was consequent 
on the transition from a colony dependent on 
a European King, to a free and sovereign State. 
Slaves remained slaves. British subjects in 
North Carolina became North Carolina free- 
men. Foreigners, until made members of the 
State, remained aliens. Slaves, manumitted 
here, became freemen, and therefore, if born 
within North Carolina, are citizens of North 

Carolina, and all free persons born within the 
State are born citizens of the State. The Con- 
stitution extended the elective franchise to 
every freeman who had arrived at the age of 
twenty-one, and paid a public tax; and it is a 
matter of universal notoriety, that, under it, 
free persons, without regard to color, claimed 
and exercised the franchise, until it was taken 
from the free men of color a few years since 
by our amended Constitution." 

In the State v. Newcomb, (5 Iredell's R., 25.3,) 
decided in 1844, the same court referred to this 
case of the State v. Manuel, aud said: "That 
case underwent a very laborious investigation, 
both by the bar and the bench. The case was 
brought here by appeal, and was felt to be one 
of great importance in principle. It was con- 
sidered with an anxiety and care worthy of 
the principle involved, and which give it a 
controlling influence and authority on all 
questions of a similar character." 

The act of February 28, 1803, (2 Stat, at 
Large, 205,) to prevent the importation of cer- 
tain persons into States, when by the laws 
thereof their admission is prohibited, in its 
first section forbids all masters of vessels to 
import or bring "any negro, mulatto, or other 
person of color, not being a native, a citizen, 
or registered seaman of the United States," &c. 

The Constitution of Missouri, under which 
that State applied for admission into the Union, 
provided, that it should be the duty of the 
Legislature "to pass laws to prevent free ne- 
groes and mulattoes from coming to and set- 
tling in the State, under any pretext whatever." 
One ground of objection to the admission of 
the State under this Constitution was, that it 
would require the Legislature to exclude free 
persons of color, who would be entitled, under 
the second section of the fourth article of the 
Constitution, not only to come within the State, 
but to enjoy there the privileges and immuni- 
ties of citizens. The resolution of Congress 
admitting the State was upon the fundamental 
condition, "th^t the Constitution of Missouri 
shall never be construed to authorize the pas- 
sage of any law, and that no law shall be passed 
in conformity thereto, by which any citizen of 
either of the States of this Union shall be ex- 
cluded from the enjoyment of any of the priv- 
ileges and immunities to which such citizen is 
entitled under the Constitution of the United 
States." — 

In Fulton v. Lewis, (3 Harris and Johnson,) 
a case in the Court of Appeals in Maryland : 

"At the trial, the following facts were ad- 
mitted in evidence: John Levant, a married 
man, being a native and resident of the Island 
of St. Domingo, removed from that place in 
July, 1793, flying from disturbances which 
then existed there, endangering the lives and 
property of the inhabitants, and brought with 
him into this State three negroes, of whom 
the petitioner (now appellee) is one, who he 
then and before owned as a slave. That in 
May, 1794, he sold the petitioner, as a slave. 



to William Clemm, who sold him as such to 
the defendant, (the appellant.) That said 
Levant arrived in Baltimore in August, 1793, 
and continued to reside there until some time 
in 1796, when he returned to the West Indies. 
The defendant thereupon prayed the direction 
of the court to the jury, that if they believed 
the focts, the petitioner was not entitled to his 
freedom. This opinion the court [Scott, C. J.] 
refused to give, but directed the jury that upon 
these facts the petitioner was free. The defend- 
ant excepted; and the verdict and judgment 
being against him, he appealed to this court, 
where the case was argued before Chase, Chief 
Justice, and Buchanan, Nicholson, Earle, John- 
son, and Martin, Justices. 

" Glenn, for the appellant, contended that the 
act of 1783, ch. 23, under which the petitioner 
claimed his freedom, meant only a voluntary 
importation of slaves, and not an importation 
arising from absolute necessity, produced by 
causes o^er which the owner, as in this case, 
had and could have no control." 

An Address delivered to the Colonization Society 
of Kentucky^ at Frankfort, December 17, 1829, 
by the Hon. Henry Clay, at the request of the 
Board of Managers. — [^Extracts,'\ 

The African part of our population, or 
their ancestors, were brought hither forcibly 
and by violence, in the prosecution of the 
most abominable traffic that ever disgraced 
the annals of the human race. They were 
chiefly procured, in their native country, as 
captives in war, taken, and subsequently sold 
b3'- the conqueror, as slaves, to the slave trader. 
Sometimes the most atrocious practices of kid- 
napping were employed to obtain possession of 
the victims. Wars were frequent between 
numerous and ]parbarous neighboring tribes 
scattered along the coast or stretched upon 
the margin of large rivers of Africa. These 
wars were often enkindled and prosecuted for 
no other object than to obtain a supply of 
subjects for this most shocking commerce. In 
these modes, husbands were torn from their 
wives, parents from their children, brethren 
from each other, and every tie cherished and 
respected among men was violated. Upon the 
arrival, at the African coast, of the unfortunate 
beings thus reduced to slavery, they were em- 
barked on board of ships carefully constructed 
and arranged to contain the greatest amount of 
human beings. Here they were ironed and 
fastened in parallel rows, and crowded together 
so closely, in loathsome holes, as not to have 
room for action or for breathing wholesome 
air. The great aim was to transport the largest 
possible number, at the least possible charge, 
from their native land to the markets for which 
they Avere destined. The greediness of cupid- 
ity was frequently disappointed and punished 
in its purposes, by the loss of moieties of whole 
cargoes of the subjects of this infamous com- 
merce, from want and suffering and disease on 
the voyage. How much happier were they 

who thus expired, than their miserable sur- 
vivors ! 

The United States, as a nation, are not re- 
sponsible for the original introduction or tha 
subsequent continuance of the slave trade. 
Whenever, as has often happened, their char- 
acter has been assailed in foreign countries, 
and by foreign writers, on account of the in- 
stitution of slavery among us, the justness of 
that vindication has been admitted by the can- 
did, which transfers to a foreign Government 
the origin of the evil. Nor are the United 
States, as a sovereign Power, responsible for 
the continuance of slavery within their limits, 
posterior to the establishment of their Inde- 
pendence; because by neither the Articles of 
Confederation, nor by the present Constitution, 
had they power to put an end to it by the 
adoption of any system of emancipation. But 
from that epoch, the responsibility of the 
several States in which slavery was tolerated 
commenced, and on them devolved the mo- 
mentous duty of considering whether the evil 
of African slavery is incurable, or admits of a 
safe and practical remedy. In performing it, 
they ought to reflect that, if when a given 
remedy is presented to their acceptance, in- 
stead of a due examination and deliberate con- 
sideration of it, they promptly reject it, and 
manifest an impatience whenever a suggestion 
is made of any plan to remove the evil, they 
will expose themselves to the reproach of yield- 
ing to the illusions of self-interest, and of in- 
sincerity in the professions which they so often 
make of a desire to get rid of slaver}-. It is a 
great misfortune, growing out of the actual 
condition of the several States, some being 
exempt, and others liable to this evil, that they 
are too prone to misinterpret the views and 
wishes of each other in respect to it. 

The several States of the Union were sen- 
sible of the responsibility which accrued to 
them, on the establishment of the Independ- 
ence of the United States, in regard to the 
subject of slavery. And many of them, begin- 
ning at a period prior to the termination of 
the Revolutionary war, by successive but dis- 
tinct acts of legislation, have effectively pro- 
vided for the abolition of slavery within their 
respective jurisdictions. More than thirty years 
ago, an attempt was made, in this Common- 
wealth, to adopt a system of gradual emanci- 
pation, similar to that which the illustrious 
Franklin had mainly contributed to introduce, 
in the year 1779, in the State founded by the 
benevolent Penn. And, among the acts of my 
life, which I look back to with most satisfac- 
tion, is that of my having co-operated Avith 
other zealous and intelligent friends, to pro- 
cure the establishment of that system in this 
State. We believed that the sum of good 
which would have been attained by the State 
of Kentucky, in a gradual emancipation of her 
slaves, at that period, would have far trans- 
cended the aggregate of mischief which might 
have resulted to herself and the Union together, 
from the gradual liberation of them, and their 
dispersion and residence in the United States. 



We were overpowered by numbers, but sub- 
mitted to the decision of the majority with the 
grace which the minority, in a Republic, sliould 
ever yield to such a decision. I have, never- 
theless, never ceased, and shall never cease, to 
regret a decision, the eflFects of which have 
been to place us in the rear of our neighbors, 
who are exempt from slavery, in the state of 
agriculture, the progress of manufactures, the 
advance of improvement, and the general pros- 
perity of society. 

As a mere laborer, the slave feels that he 
toils for his master, and not for himself; that 
the laws do not recognise his capacity to ac- 
quire and hold property, which depends al- 
together upon the pleasure of his proprietor; 
and that all the fruits of his exertions are 
reaped by others. He knows that, whether 
sick or well, in times of scarcity or abundance, 
his master is bound to provide for him, by the 
all-powerful influence of the motive of self- 
interest. He is generally, therefore, indifferent 
to the adverse or prosperous fortunes of his 
master, being contented, if he can escape his i 
displeasure or chastisement, by a careless and 
slovenly performance of his duties. 

* * * This competition, and the prefer- 
ence for white labor, are believed to l)eulre;iily 
discernible in parts of Maryland, Virginia, ami 
Kentucky, and probably existed in Pennsyl- 
vania and other States north of M;uyJ u i, 
prior to the disappearance of slr.ves iV-i'u 
among them. The march of tlie aseL'iiil' .i y 
of free labor over slave, will proceed from ;!;■' 
North to the South, gradually entering tirst 
the States nearest to the free region. Itc pvo- { 
gress would be more rapid, if it were not im- 
peded by the check resulting from the repug- 
nance of the white man to work among slaves, 
or where slavery is tolerated. — See African 
{^Colonization) Repository^ March. 1830. 

Extract from Mr. Clay's Speech before the Amer- 
ican Colonization Society, January, 1827. — See 
Tenth Annual Report. 

We are reproached with doing mischief by 
the agitation of this question. The society 
goes into no household to disturb its domestic 
tranquillity; it addresses itself to no slaves, 
to weaken their obligations of obedience. It 
seeks to affect no man's property. It neither 
has the power nor the will to affect the prop- 
erty of any one, contrary to his consent. The 
execution of its scheme would augment, instead 
of diminishing, the value of the property left 
behind. The society, composed of free men, 
concerns itself only with the free. Collateral 
consequences, we are not responsible for. It 
is not this society which has produced the 
great moral revolution which the age exhibits. 
What would they, who thus reproach us, have 
done? If they would repress all tendencies 
towards Liberty and ultimate emancipation, 
they must do more than put down the benevo- 
lent efforts of this society. They must go back 
to the era of our Liberty and Independence, 
and muzzle the cannon which thunders its 
annual joyous return. They must revive the 

slave trade, with all its train of atrocities. 
They must suppress the workings of British 
philanthropy, seeking to ameliorate the condi- 
tion of the unfortunate West Indian slaves. 
They must arrest the career of South Ameri- 
can deliverance from thraldom. They must 
blow out the moral lights around xis, and ex- 
tinguish that greatest torch of all, which Amer- 
ica presents to a benighted world, pointing the 
way to their rights, their liberties, and their 
happiness. And when they have achieved all 
these purposes, their Avork will be yet incom- 
plete. They must penetrate the human soul, 
and eradicate the light of reason and the love 
of liberty. Then, and not till then, when uni- 
versal darkness and despair prevail, can you 
perpetuate slavery, and repress all syrapathie.s 
and all humane and benevolent efforts among 
freemen, in behalf of the unhappy portion of 
our race who are doomed to bondage. 

Our friends, who are cursed with this greatest 
of human evils, deserve the kindest attention 
and consideration. Their property and their 
i safety are both involved. But the liberal and 
candid among them will not, cannot, expect 
that every project to deliver our country from 
it is to be crushed, because of a possible and 
ideal danger. 

The effect of this institution, if its prosperity 
shall equal our wishes, will be alike propitious 
to every interest of our domestic society; and 
sliould it lead, as we may fairly hope it will, 
to the slow but gradual abolition of slavery, it 
will wipe from our political institutions the 
only blot which stains them ; and, in palliation 
of which, we shall not be at liberty to plead 
the excuse of moral necessity, until we shall 
have honestly exerted all the means which we 
possess for its extinction. — See First Annual 
Report of the Colonization Society. 

Extracts from a letter from William H. Fitzhugh, 
Esq., of Virginia, to a gentleman of New 
York, dated Ravensworth, August 11th, 1826. 

Our design was, by providing an asylum 
on the coast of Africa, and furnishing the ne 
cessary facilities for removal to the people of 
color, to induce the voluntary emigration of 
that portion of them already free, and to throw 
open to individuals and the States a wider 
door for voluntary and legal emancipation. 
The operation, we were aware, must be — and, 
for the interests of our country, ought to be — 
gradual. But we entertained a hope, founded 
on our knowledge of the interests as well as 
the feelings of the South, that this operation, 
properly conducted, would, in the end, remove 
from our country every vestige of domestic 
slavery, without a single violation of individ- 
ual wishes or individual rights. * * * 

The Colonization Society has distinctly 
designated the extent to which it seeks the 
interposition of the Government of the coun- 
try. It asks only the provisions of a place and 



a Government for the reception and protection 
of such persons of color as are already free, 
and such others as the humanity of individuals^ 
and the laics of the different States, may hereafter 
liberate — the necessary encouragement to, and 
the necessary facilities for, emigration — and, 
.as occasion may require it, pecuniary aids to 
the States, for effecting, in such modes as they 
may choose, the extinction of slavery within their 
respective limits. Such, and such only, is the 
interference asked, * * * 

But whence, it may be asked, is derived 
the proposed authority " to afford encourage- 
ment to, and facilities for, emigration," and 
" pecuniary aids to the States for effecting the 
extinction of slavery within their respective 
limits ? " From the very same source, I answer, 
whence springs the whole power of appropria- 
tion; from the authority "to lay and collect 
taxes, duties, imposts, to pay the debts and 
provide for the common defence and general 
welfare of the country," and an authority, evi- 
dently imposing no other limitation on the 
power of appropriation, than that it be applied 
exclusively to promoting the general interests 
of the nation ; and it accordingly may be, and 
under every Administration has been, used in 
aiding the accomplishment of objects not with- 
in the reach of the other specified powers of 
the Government. It is on this principle that 
large sums have been voted, at different times, 
for making roads and canals, for ameliorating 
the conditton of the Indians, for giving relief 
to the inhabitants of Caraccas, for restoring 
captured Africans to their homes, for suppress- 
ing the slave trade, and, above all, for evinc- 
ing the nation's gratitude to Gen. Lafayette. 
None of these difi'erent acts can be brought j 
within the enumerated powers of the Govern- . 
ment. And if its revenue is to be expended 
only in sustaining these powers, not only must 
the acts in question, but a very large propor- 
tion of tlie numerous acts on our statute book, 
involving expenditure, be pronounced viola- j 
tions of the constitutional charter. — See Af- 
rican (^Colonization) Repository, October, 1826. 


Extract from a speech of Ex-President Monroe, 
delivered in the Virginia State Convention for 
altering the Constitution, Nov. 2d, 1829. 

" What has been the leading spirit of this 
State, ever since our independence was ob- 
tained? She has always declared herself in 
favor of the equal rights of man. The revo- 
lution was conducted on that principle. Yet 
there was at that time a slavish population in 
Virginia. We hold it in the condition in 
which the Revolution found it, and what can 
be done with this population ? If they were 
extinct, or had not been here, white persons 
would occupy their place, and perform all the 
offices now performed by them, and conse- 
quently be represented. If the white people 
were not taxed, they also would be free from 
taxation. If you set them free, look at the 
condition of society. Emancipate them, and 

what would be their condition ? Four hun- 
dred thousand, or a greater number, of poor, 
without one cent of property, what would 
become of them ? Disorganization would fol- 
low, and perfect confusion. They are separated 
from the rest of society by a different color; 
there can be no intercourse of equality between 
them ; nor can you remove them. How is it 
practicable? The thing is impossible, and 
they must remain as poor, free from the con- 
trol of their masters, and must soon fall upon 
the rest of society, and resort to plunder for 
subsistence. As to the practicability of eman- 
cipating them, it can never be done by the 
State itself, nor without the aid of the Union. 
And what would be their condition, suppo- 
sing they were emancipated, and not removed 
beyond the limits of the Union ? The experi- 
ment has in part been tried. They have emi- 
grated to Pennsylvania in great numbers, and 
form a part of the population of Philadelphia, 
and likewise of New York and Boston. But 
those who were the most ardent advocates of 
emancipation, in those portions of the Union, 
have been shocked at the charges of main- 
taining them, as well as at the effect of their 
example. Nay, sir, look at Ohio, and what 
has she recently done? Ohio acknowledges 
the equal rights of all, yet she has driven them 
off from her territory. She has been obliged 
to do it. If emancipation be possible, I look 
to the Union to aid in effecting it. 

"Sir, what brought us together in the revo- 
lutionary war? It was the doctrine of equal 
rights. Each part of the country encouraged 
and supported every other part of it. None 
took advantage of the others' distresses. And 
if we find that this evil has preyed upon the 
vitals of the Union, and has been prejudicial 
to all the States where it has existed, and is 
likeivise repugnant to their several State Constitu- 
tions and Bills of Rights, why may we not ex- 
pect that they will unite with us in accom- 
plishing its removal ? If we make the attempt, 
and cannot accomplish it, the effect will at 
least be to abate the great number of petitions 
and memorials which are continually pouring 
in upon the Government. This matter is be- 
fore the nation, and the principles and con- 
sequences involved in it are of the highest 
importance. But, in the mean while, self-pres- 
ervation demands of us union in our councils. 

" What was the origin of our slave popula- 
tion? The evil commenced when we were in 
our colonial state, but acts were passed by our 
Colonial Legislature, prohibiting the importa- 
tion of more slaves into the colony. These 
were rejected by the Crown. We declared our 
independence, and the prohibition of a further 
importation was among the first acts of State 
sovereignty. Virginia was the first State 
which instructed her delegates to declare the 
Colonies independent. She braved all dangers. 
Froin Quebec to Boston, and from Boston to 
Sav.annah, Virginia shed the blood of her sons. 
No imputation, then, can be cast upon her in 
this matter. She did all that was in her power 
to do, to prevent the extension of slavery, and to 



mitigate its evils^ — See Debates of the Conven- 
tion, page 149. 

Mr. Benj. Watkins Leigh said : * * * 
" Sir, the venerable gentleman from Loudoun 
(Mr. Monroe) spoke of the impracticability of 
any scheme of emancipation without the aid 
of the General Government. Is he, then, and 
if he is, are we reconciled to the idea of the 
interference of the General Government in 
this most delicate and peculiar interest of our 
own ? What right can that Government have 
to interfere in it? " 

Mr. Monroe here explained. 

" I consider the question of slavery as one 
of the most important that can come before 
this body; it is certainly one which must 
deeply affect the Commonwealth, whether the 
decision be to maintain it over those now in 
that state, or to attempt their emancipation. 
The idea I meant to suggest was, that the sub- 
ject had assumed a new and very important 
character, by what had occurred in the other 
States, and particularly in those in which 
slavery does not exist. We had seen in the 
early stage a strong pressure for emancipation 
from the Eastern States, and equally so, of 
late, from the States in the West ; but eman- 
cipation had thrown many of our liberated 
slaves upon them ; in consequence of which, 
they have been driven back, and all interfer- 
ence on their part has ceased. 

" The subject is now brought home to them 
as well as to ourselves ; and the question to be 
decided by us is, whether their emancipation 
is practicable or not. Should the decision be 
that it was practicable, I did not mean to con- 
vey the idea that the United States should 
interfere, of right, as is advocated by many. 
I meant to suggest, that if the wisdom of Vir- 
ginia should decide that it was practicable, 
and invite the aid of the General Government, 
that it should then be afforded at her instance, 
and not that of the United States, as having 
the least authority in the matter." 

Mr. Leigh : " I thank the gentleman for his 
explanation." — See Debates in Convention, page 

I find the following in the proceedings of the 
Convention, which may throw some light on 
the question of free negro citizenship. It oc- 
curs in the proceedings of Friday, December 
18, 1829: 

" The third resolution as amended in the 
House yesterday, on Mr. Leigh's motion, was 
next read, in the words following : 

" ' Every male citizen of the Commonwealth, 

* resident therein, aged twenty-one years and 

* upwards, other than free negroes and mulat- 

* toes,' " &c., &c. 

[This resolution was adopted ; but those who 
voted against it did so without reference to 
the above phraseology.] 

The subject of slavery was only discussed 
incidentally during the deliberations of the 
Convention, and mainly in reference to the 

basis of representation. The Eastern mem- 
bers insisted on the representation of slaves 
as persons or property, while those from the 
West favored the white basis, but denied that 
the West was disposed to interfere with slave 
property. Several members incidentally ex- 
pressed sentiments adverse to slavery ; but I 
find no passage of marked interest, except the 
preceding from Mr. Monroe. 

Hanover, Jan. 18, 1779. 

Dear Sir : I take this opportunity to ac- 
knowledge the receipt of Anthony Benezet's 
book against the slave trade. I thank you for 
it. It is not a little surprising, that the pro- 
fessors of Christianity, whose chief excellence 
consists in softening the human heart, in cher- 
ishing and improving its finer feelings, should 
encourage a practice so totally repugnant to 
the first impressions of right and wrong. What 
adds to the wonder is, that this abominable 
practice has been introduced in the most en- 
lightened ages. Times that seem to have pre- 
tentions to boast of high improvements in the 
arts and sciences, and refined morality, have 
brought into general use, and guarded by many 
laws, a species of violence and tyranny, which 
our more rude and barbarous, but more hon- 
est ancestors, detested. Is it not amazing, 
that at a time when the rights of humanity 
are defined and understood with precision in 
a country, above all others, fond of liberty, 
that in such an age, and in such a country, we 
find men professing a religion the most hii- 
raane, mild, gentle and generous, adopting a 
principle as repugnant to humanity as it is 
inconsistent with the Bible and destructive to 
liberty? Every thinking, honest man rejects 
it in speculation ; how few in practice, from 
conscientious motives! 

Would any one believe that I am master of 
slaves, of my own purchase? I am drawn 
along by the general inconvenience of living 
here without them. I will not, I cannot jus- 
tify it. However culpable my conduct, I will 
so far pay my devoir to Virtue, as to own the 
excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and 
lament my want of conformity to them. 

1 believe a time will come, when an opportunity 
will be ojfered to abolish this lamentable evil. 
Everything we can do is to improve it, if it 
happens in our day ; if not, let us transmit to 
our descendants, together with our slaves, a 
pity for their unhapjjy lot, and our abhorrence 
for slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished- 
for reformation to practice, let us treat the 
unhappy victims with lenity. It is the further- 
most advance we can make towards justice ; 
it is a debt we owe to the purity of our reli- 
gion, to show that it is at variance with that 
law which warrants slaver3\ I know not 
where to stop. I could say many things on 
the subject, a serious view of which gives a 
gloomy perspective to future times. — Letter to 
Robert Pleasants. 




Extract from his Speech before the Eleventh An- 
nual Meeting of the American Colonization 
Society, January, 1828. 

" My days of enthusiasm, said Mr. C, have 
long since gone past ; and I now look through 
the plain medium of sober truth, upon the 
objects of this world. Viewing things in this 
manner, I feel that the design of the Coloniza- 
tion Society must succeed, as strongly as I 
feel the force of any self-evident proposition. 
Sir, it cannot be otherwise. Reason and ex- 
perience and principle are with us. The land 
of liberty is not a home for the slave. He 
perishes there. His mind and energies are 

" Sir, if we go back to the olden time, and 
mark the progress of events, what do we see? 
Two barks, at different periods, left the shores 
of Europe, and spread their canvas for the 
New World. Of the one which steered to the 
North, Religion sat at the helm, and with her 
came all the kindred virtues. They debarked 
upon a bleak and barren coast, where, by the 
exercise of patient industry, social harmony, 
and all the best attributes of man, they have 
made the land, which was once an inhospita- 
ble desert, to flourish and " blossom as the 
rose" — and, sir, from the seed of these Pilgrim 
Fathers hath descended a race of people, who, 
whether you shall estimate them by their 
progress in the arts of peace, their renown in 
war, or their active and successful enterprise 
on the soil or the wave, have not their fel- 
lows on the habitable globe. 

" The bark which steered for the South, bore 
the Genius of Chivalry, under the gallant pen- 
nons of Raleigh and Smith, with all the no- 
ble and manly virtues in their train. From 
the followers of those adventurous leadings 
have sprung a people, Avho, born and nurtured 
under the fervid beams of a Southern sun, so 
genial to the growth of the strong plants of 
Talent and Tobacco, have quick yet kindly 
feelings, warm-hearted friendships, and genu- 
ine, open-handed hospitality. God saw these 
enterprises with approval, wafted them in 
safety over the trackless main, and bid them 
fix their abodes on the soil of America. Had 
these have been the only description of freights 
which the Old World ever sent to the Ncav, 
there would have been everything to rejoice 
at, and nothing to mourn ; but alas, sir, soon 
did another bark speed her course o'er the 
Atlantic Avave. Rapine and outrage furnished 
her lading. Avarice and Ambition trimmed 
her sails, and all the dark and deadly passions 
urged her on her baneful way ; and would, 
sir, that Providence, in mercy to the destinies 
of this fair country, had whelmed the slave 
ship in the fathomless deep, ere she disgorged 
her accursed cargo on our once smiling shores. 
This seed of evil, planted by the avarice of 
our ancient rulers, Ave derive from those who 
have gone before us ; it is our misfortune, not 
our fault; but it is too late to complain, and 

it now behooves us to apply the remedy, while 
remedy we have, and pave the way for distant 
though certain removal of the evil, ere it may- 
be too late even to hope for success.. 

" Sir, the prosperity and aggrandizement of 
a State is to be seen in its increase of inhab- 
itants, and consequent progress in industry 
and wealth. Of the vast tide of emigration, 
which now rushes like a cataract to the West, 
not even a trickling rill wends its feeble course 
to the Ancient Dominion. Of the multitude 
of foreigners who daily seek an asylum and a 
home in the Empire of Liberty, how many 
turn their steps toward the regions of the 
slave? None. No, not one. There is a ma- 
laria in the atmosphere of those regions, which 
the new-comer shuns-, as being deleterious to 
his views and habits. See the wide-spreading 
ruin which the avarice of our ancestral Gov- 
ernment has produced in the South, as wit- 
nessed in a sparse population of freemen, 
deserted habitations, fields without culture, 
and, strange to tell, even the wolf, which, 
driven back long since by the approach of 
man, now returns, after the lapse of an hun- 
dred years, to howl o'er the desolations of 

" Where, I ask, is the good ship Virginia, 
in the array of the National Fleet ? Drifting 
down the line, sir — third, soon to be fourth. 
Where next? Following in the wake of those 
she formerly led in the van ; her flag still flying 
at the main, the flag of her ancient glory; but 
her timbers are decaying, her rigging Avants 
setting up ancAv, and her Helmsman is old and 
weather-beaten. But let her undergo an over- 
haul, let the parts decayed by slavery be 
removed, and good sound materials put in 
their stead, then manned by a gallant crew, 
my life on it, the Old Thing will once more 
brace upon a wind, aye, and show her stern 
to those who have almost run her hull under. 

" Sir. said Mr. C, a dawning of light has at 
length arisen upon the darkness of our long 
night. It now begins to break, and gives glo- 
rious promise of its future splendor. At first 
it was but a foint and feeble streak along the 
verge of the horizon. Noav it brightens in its 
progress, and grows ouAvard towards the me- 
ridian day. It rises from that land where 
darkness has hitherto reigned alone — Avhere it 
has been said that genius sickens and fancy 
dies. The slave returns to the land of his 
fathers, the land for Avhich nature has fitted 
him. While Ave should sicken and die A'ictims 
of that ardent clime, the native African, invig- 
orated under the influence of a vertical sun, 
glories in its blaze, and grapples with the lion 
of the desert. But expose the African to the 
keen rigors of our Northern Avinter, and he 
shivers and dies, while the white man can 
bare his bosom to the blast. Nature, then, has 
pointed out the Avay ; and let us folloAv, to 
obey her mandates. She hath draAvn a line 
of demarkation between the countries of the 
Avhite man and the black. 

" Let me say, sir, in this Legislative Hall, 
Avhcre words of eloquence have so often 



' charmed the listening ear,' that the glorious 
time is coming Avhen the wretched children 
of Africa shall establish on her shores a nation 
of Christians and freemen. It has been said 
that this Society was an invasion of the rights 
of the slaveholders. Sir, if it is an invasion, 
it comes not from without. It is an irruption 
of liberality, and threatens only that freemen 
will overrun our Southern country — that the 
soil will be fertilized by the sweat of freemen 
alone, and that what are now deserts will 
flourish and blossom under the influence of 
enterprise and industry. Such will be the 
happy results of this Society. 

*' Let the philanthropist look at the facts. 
Nearly two millions of this unhappy people 
tread our soil. In the Southern climate, their 
increase is more rapid than that of the whites. 
What is the natural result, if some means are 
not applied to prevent it? What is now, 
compared to our own population, but as a 
molehill, will become a mountain, threatening 
with its volcanic dangers all within its reach. 
What is the next consequence? Why, as in 
the slave colonies of other countries, you 
must have an army of troops to keep in awe 
this dangerous population. What a sight 
would this be, in a land of liberty I The same 
breeze that fanned our harvests, that played 
among the leaves of the cane and the corn, 
would also rustle banners of war ! By the side 
of implements of agriculture, employed in the 
works of peace, will appear the gleam of arms. 
Shall it be said that we are not liable to the 
same vicissitudes that have overtaken other 
nations ? No, sir ; we are operated upon by 
the same circumstances to which other nations 
have been subjected. The same causes will 
produce the same effects, as long as the nature 
of man is unchanged, in every clime. 

"I trust, sir, that the march of mind is 
now upon its glorious way. I trust that the 
minds of all have been sufficiently opened to 
the true interest and glory of the country, to 
agree with me, that this is no fitting place for 
the slave. That this country must, at some 
future time, be consecrated to freemen alone. 
There are many individuals in the Southern 
country, of which I am a native, who predict 
that the plan must fail. They say we shall go 
on and partially succeed ; that a portion of the 
black population will go out to the Colony, 
and, after residing there a short time, become 
discontented, when the plan must be given up ; 
and that the evil which we have endeavored 
to remove will be only the worse for our exer- 
tion to obviate it. But this, sir, will not hold 
true. It was, as it were, but a few days since, a 
small number of individuals were thrown upon 
the shores of Africa. And what is the result ? 
Here let it be said — in the palace of legisla- 
tion — that this people, but just now a hand- 
ful, are rising to consequence, and to a capa- 
bility of the enjoyment of political and civil 
rights ; and let us say to those who doubt, 
this is the evidence in favor of our plan ! 
Ought not this to join all hearts, and call forth 
renewed exertions from those whose labors 

have thus far been crowned with unexpected 

" May not this be looked upon as a glorious 
work, the success of which has been demon- 
strated! And when the time shall come — 
and I trust in God it will come — when this 
free and enlightened nation, dAvelling in peace 
and happiness under the mild influences 
of its Government and laws, shall have fixed 
deep the foundations of civilization in that 
distant land, hitherto only known for its 
wide-spread deserts and its savage race; 
oh, sir, what will be the gratitude of that 
people, who, transferred from the abode of 
their bondage, shall enjoy the rights of free- 
men in their native clime I And, oh, sir, 
when we look to ourselves — when we see the 
fertilization of those barren wastes which 
always mark the land of slaves — when we 
see a dense population of freemen — when 
lovely cottages and improved farms arise upon 
the now deserted and sterile soil, and, where 
now deep silence reigns, we hear the chimes 
of Religion from the village spire, will you 
not, will not every friend of his country, 
thank this Society for its patriotic labors? 
Yes ! Kings might be proud of the effects 
which this Society will have produced. Far 
more glorious than all their conquests would 
ours be ; for it would be the triumph of free- 
dom over slavery — of liberality over preju- 
dice — and of humanity over the vice and 
wretchedness, which ever wait on ignorance 
and servitude I 

" The spirit which pointed out and has at- 
tended the course of this Society is rapidly 
gaining ground in the civilized world. I trust 
its progress will not be impeded. I trust, sir, 
that the Eagle, who now makes his eyry in 
the rocks and fastnesses of this land of free- 
men, will spread his broad pinions over other 
climes ; and that the freedom for which our 
fathers contended, and which their sons know 
well how to prize and enjoy, may be diffused 
wherever the human footstep is imprinted on 
the earth ! Yes, sir, it must be so ! The 
liberty of the New World will find its way to 
the Old. It will grow; it will flourish — for 
it is an imperishable principle." — See Eleventh 
Annual Report Amer. Col. Soc.pp. 22, 23, 24, 25. 

Extract from the Report of the Committee to 
whom ivere referred sundry Memorials on the 
subject of Colonizing the Free People of Color 
of Virginia. 

" The establishment within the limits of any 
State of a large and growing community of 
individuals, essentially different from the great 
mass of its inhabitants, would, under any 
circumstances, be a matter of questionable 
expediency. But if that community be dis- 
tinguished by the peculiarity of its color, be 
made up of slaves or of their immediate de- 
scendants, and be diffused over every part of 
a slaveholding country, there is no longer 
room to doubt the baneful and dangerous 



character of the influence it must exert. The 
distinctive complexion by which it is marked 
necessarily debars it from all familiar inter- 
course with the more-favored society that sur- 
rounds it, and of course denies to it all hope 
of either social or political elevation, by 
means of individual merit, however great, or 
individual exertions, however unremitted. The 
strongest incentives to industry, and moral as 
well as political rectitude, being thus with- 
drawn, it would argue a most extraordinary 
ignorance of the character of the human 
heart, to anticipate from those, in relation to 
whom virtue and intelligence and patriotism 
are stripped of their most powerful attractions, 
a course of conduct calculated either to exalt 
themselves, or to benefit the country in which 
they live. Reason, on the contrary, would 
point us to the very results which our own 
experience has so fully demonstrated. Igno- 
rance, idleness, and profligacy, must be the 
inseparable companions, the unavoidable con- 
sequences, of individual degradation ; and 
they who are its unfortunate subjects cannot 
fail to be a curse to the community with which 
they are connected, detracting at once from 
its general wealth, its moral character, and its 
political strength." * * * 

" Under the influence of a policy, already 
referred to, and justified by the necessity from 
which it sprung, the laws of Virginia have 
prohibited emancipation within the limits of 
the State, but on condition of the early re- 
moval of the individual emancipated. Do 
not justice and humanity require that the 
rigors of this condition should be softened, 
as far as possible, by legislative interposition? 
And how can this be so eff"ectually accom- 
plished, as by providing a safe and suitable 
asylum, together with the means of emigration 
to it, for those whose removal from the State 
is positively enjoined? There can be no doubt 
of the wisdom and propriety of controlling, ^ 
and even entirely repressing the operations of i 
benevolence and philanthropy, when inconsist- 
ent with the public safety or the public wel- 
fare. But that Government would be justly 
chargeable with the extreme of despotism, 
that should attempt, without necessity, to 
interfere with the kind and generous feelings 
of the human heart ; or, where the necessity 
exists, without tempering the rigor of its de- 
crees with such emollients as charity may 
suggest, and the means at its disposal may 

On the present occasion, however, policy 
fortunately points to the very course which 
humanity would require. In providing for 
those whose removal from the State is made a 
condition of their emancipation, the means of 
emigration to Africa, the General Assembly 
will be applying, in the opinion of your Com- 
mittee, the only safe and efficient remedy to 
an evil, whose presence and magnitude is ac- 
knowledged, and whose future increase is 
dreaded by all. If the effect of this operation 
should not be, as some have sanguinely hoped, 
the entire extinction of slavery in the end, 

there can be very little doubt that it will a 
least open a drain for our colored population, 
of which individual humanity and legislative 
wisdom may avail themselves to an extent 
amply sufficient for all the purposes of public 
security. But should it realize, in its results, 
the anticipations that have sometimes been 
formed in relation to it, and draw from us, 
without a single interference with individual 
rights, or a single violation of individual 
wishes, the great mass of our colored popula- 
tion, then indeed may Virginia lock to it as 
the surest means of restoring her to that 
ascendency among her sister States, of which 
it may be safely affirmed that slavery only 
has deprived her." — Appendix Twelfth Annual 
Report, pp. 59, 60, 62, 63. 


Whereas the General Assembly of Vir- 
ginia have repeatedly sought to obtain an 
asylum, beyond the limits of the United States, 
for such persons of color as had been or 
might be emancipated under the laws of this 
Commonwealth, but have hitherto found all 
their efl'orts for the accomplishment of this 
desirable purpose frustrated, either by the 
disturbed state of other nations, or domestic 
causes equally unpropitious to its success : 

They now avail themselves of a period when 
peace has healed the wounds of humanity, and 
the principal nations of Europe have concur- 
red with the Government of the United States, 
in abolishing the African slave trade, (a traffic 
which this Commonwealth, both before and 
since the Revolution, zealously sought to ter- 
minate,) to renew this eff'ort, and do therefore 
Reaolve, That the Executive be requested to 
correspond with the President of the United 
States, for the purpose of obtaining a territory 
upon the coast of Africa, or at some other 
place, not within any of the States or Territo- 
rial Governments of the United States, to serve 
as an asylum for such persons of color as are 
now free, and may desire the same, and for 
those who may hereafter be emancipated within 
this Commonwealth ; and that the Senators and 
Representatives of this State, in the Congress 
of the United States, be requested to exert 
their best efl'orts to aid the President of the 
United States in the attainment of the above 
object: Provided, That no contract or ar- 
rangement respecting such territoiy shall be 
obligatory on this Commonwealth until ratified 
by the Legislature. 

Passed by the House of Delegates, December 
15th — by the Senate, with an amendment, 
December 20th — concurred in by the House 
of Delegates, December 21, 18i6. 

Since the meeting of the Society, the fol- 
lowing resolution has unanimously passed the 
Legislature of Maryland : 

By the House of Delegates, Jan. 26, 1818. 
Resolved, unanimously. That the Governor 
be requested to communicate to the President 
of the United States and to our Senators 



and Representatives in Congress, the opinion 
of this General Assembly, that a wise and 
provident policy suggests the expediency, on 
the part of our National Government, of pro- 
curing, through negotiation, by cession or 
purchase, a tract of country on the Western 
coast of Africa, for the colonization of the 
free people of color of the United States. 
By order. Louis Gassaway, Clerk. 

[The following extracts are made from the 
able and interesting Report of the Frederick 
County, Virginia, Auxiliary Society.] 

''Africa, the pride of antiquity, and the 
original seat of the arts and sciences, has for 
three hundred years been visited with every 
act of oppression which could be devised by 
the tyranny or injustice of mankind. After 
improving the condition of the ancient nations 
of Europe and Asia, by instructing them in 
the principles of civil government and the 
maxims of philosophy, she has, in modern 
ages, been rewarded for her services by a sys- 
tem of cruel, inhuman persecution, unparal- 
leled in the annals of the world. By means of 
the slave trade, that scourge of Africa, the 
countries bordering on her sea-coast have l3een 
desolated, her virtues blasted, her peace de- 
stroyed, her civilization retarded or converted 
to barbarism, and her intercourse with foreign 
nations annihilated, except in the diabolical 
traffic of human flesh ! Our own country is 
blackened with the victims of slavery, already 
amounting to nearly two millions of souls ; 
and to contemplate their increase through the 
vista of futurity, is alarming to the patriot and 
the philanthropist. 

" While we deprecate the horrors of slavery, 
it is consoling to reflect that our country is 
originally guiltless of the crime, which was 
legalized by Great Britain under our Colonial 
Government, and consummated by commercial 
avarice, at a time when our powerless Legis- 
latures vainly implored the mother country to 
abolish a trade so impious in its character 
and dreadful in its consequences. In the year 
1772, Virginia discouraged the importation 
of slaves by the imposition of duties, and sup- 
plicated the Throne to remove the evil ; and 
in 1778, having broken the fetters of British 
tyranny, she passed a law prohibiting the fur- 
ther importation of slaves. The attention of 
the Continental Congress was called to this 
interesting subject as early as the year 1774, 
and the opposition then expressed to the slave 
trade was afterwards effectuated by a law 
enacted by the Constitutional Congress as 
soon as its delegated powers would permit. 
In an address which was carried unanimously 
in both Houses of the British Parliament, it is 
said ' that the United States of America were 
honorably distinguished as the first which 
pronounced the condemnation of this guilty 
traffic' In pursuance of our example, en- 
forced by the eloquence of Clarkson, Wilber- 
force, and their coadjutors, the British Gov- 
ernment, and subsequently the other nations 
of Europe, (with the exception of Portugal,) 

have fully united in this work of humanity ; 
whilst Portugal has also renounced the slave 
trade to the north of the equator." — See Fourth 
Annual Report of Col. Society. 


Address of the Synod of Tennessee to the Society 
for the Colonization of the Free People of 
Color in the United States. 


Respected Sir : Through you, the synod 
of Tennessee embrace, with lively pleasure, 
an early opportunity of congratulating the 
Society formed at the Capital of our nation, 
and consisting of so many of our distinguished 
statesmen and fellow citizens, for the coloniza- 
tion of the free people of color among us, 
who may accede to their plan. 

As ministers and disciples of Him who pro- 
claims light to them that sit in darkness, 
peace to a jarring world, liberty to the cap- 
tives, and the opening of the prison to them 
that are bound, we anticipate the glorious 
day, when men shall know the Lord from the 
least unto the greatest in all lands ; when 
every one shall sit under his own vine and 
under his own fig tree, having none to molest 
or to make him afraid ; when the rod of the 
oppressor and the tears of the oppressed shall 
be known no more ; but all men shall do unto 
others as they would be done unto in similar 
circumstances. This glorious change in the 
state of the world we expect will be brought 
about by the instrumentality of men, under 
the blessing of God. While, then, th€ heralds 
of salvation go forth in the name and strength 
of their divine Master to preach the gospel to 
every creature, we ardently wish that your 
exertions and the best influence of all philan- 
thropists may be united, to meliorate the con- 
dition of human society, and especially of its 
most degraded classes, till liberty, religion, 
and happiness, shall be the enjoyment of the 
whole family of man. 

Nashville Church, Oct. 3, 1817. 

A true copy from the records of the Synod 
of Tennessee. 

Charles Coffin, Stated Clerk. 

Resolution of the Legislature of the State of Ten- ' 

Your committee are of opinion that such 
parts of said memorials and petitions as ask 
this General Assembly to aid the Federal Gov- 
ernment in devising and executing a plan for 
colonizing, in some distant country, the free 
people of color in the United States, is rea- 
sonable ; and, for the purpose of effecting the 
object which they have in view, the commit- 
tee have drafted a resolution, which accompa- 
nies this report, the adoption of which they 
would recommend. 

The committee are of opinion that such 
parts of said memorials and petitions as pray 
the passage of a law to prohibit the bringing 



of slaves into or through the State, for sale, 
as well as those parts which pray that the 
owners of slaves of certain ages and descrip- 
tions may be permitted to emancipate them 
•without giving any security, are reasonable ; 
and to endeavor to accomplish those objects, 
they have drafted a bill, which accompanies 
this report, the enacting of which into a law 
the committee also recommend. 

All which is respectfully submitted. 

Nath. Willis, Chairman. 

Mr. Willis, from the same committee, sub- 
mitted the following resolution, which was 
read and adopted : 

Resolved^ (by the General Assembly of the 
State of Tennessee,) That the Senators in Con- 
gress from this State be and they are hereby 
instructed, and that the Representatives be 
and they are hereby requested, to give to the 
Government of the United States any aid in 
their power, in devising and carrying into ef- 
fect a plan which may have for its object the 
colonizing, in some distant country, the free 
people of color who are within the limits of 
the United States, or within the limits of any 
of their Territories. 


" More can be said of General Oglethorpe, 

* than of the subject of any other prince in 

* Europe ; he founded the province of Georgia 
' in America ; he lived to see it flourish and 
' become of consequence to the commerce of 
' Great Britain ; he saw it in a state of resist- 

* ance, and at length independent of the mother 

* country ; and of great political importance in 
'one quarter of the globe." — Vide 3IcCalVs 
History of Georgia. 

Such was the individual with whom Gran- 
ville Sharp now commenced a correspond- 
ence. We give the following extract from 
Gen. Oglethorpe's first letter. 


" Sir : Being at Woolston Hall, Dr. Scott's 
house, he showed me your ' Law of Retribution.' 
I was greatly rejoiced to find that so laborious 
and learned a man had appeared a champion 
for the rights of mankind, against avarice, 
extortion, and inhumanity ; that you had with 
an heroic courage dared to press home on an 
infidel luxurious world the dreadful threats of 
the prophets. 

" 1 am, sir, your ob't humble servant, 

"James Oglethorpe." 


"Cranham Hill, Oct. 13, l^TG. 

" Sir : With great pleasure I receive the 
favor of yours of the 2'i'th of September, and 
since, several excellent tracts of your compo- 
sing, which I have read with much satisfaction, 
as they all point to the great end of life — 
the honor of God and love of our neighbor. 

" As I have not the happiness of being 
known to you, it is necessary to tell you that 

I am the person you will find mentioned in 
Harris's collections (the last edition in two 
vol.) and Smollett's in Rolt. and all the histo- 
ries of that time. 

" My friends and I settled the Colony of 
Georgia, and by charter were established to 
make laws, &c. We determined not to suffer 
slavery there; but the slave merchants, and 
their adherents, occasioned us not only much 
trouble, but at last got the then Government 
to favor them. We would not suffer slavery 
to be authorized under our authority. The Gov- 
ernment, finding the trustees resolved firmly 
not to concur Avith what they thought unjust, 
took away the charter, by which no law could 
be passed Avithout our consent. 

" As you Avill find me in the history of those 
times, you will find me also in the present list 
of the army; and Avhen you come to town, I 
shall be very glad to see you in Grosvenor 
street, Avhere I live in London, as I do here in 
the country. 

" You mention an argument urged by Hume, 
that the Africans were incapable of liberty, and 
that no man capable of government Avas ever 
produced by Africa. What a historian ! He 
must never have heard of Shishak, the great 
Sesostris, of Hannibal, or of Tirhaka, king of 
Ethiopia, wdiose very name frightened the 
mighty Assyrian monarch, (2 Kings, XIX, 9.) 
Is it possible he never should have seen 
Herodotus, w^iere the mighty works of the 
Pyramids, remaining to this day, are men- 
tioned ; and in the ansAver of the king 

of Ethiopia to Cambyses. In Leo the Afri- 
can's geographical description of Africa, he 
would have found that Africa had produced 
races of heroes." 

It is an interesting fact, that the most wor- 
thy and industrious settlers in Georgia were 
entirely opposed to the introduction of slavery 
into the Colony. The indulgences granted to 
the Carolinians increased the discontent of 
those " who, having been not only useless 
members, but burdensome to society at home, 
determined to be equally so abroad: and as 
they generally had nothing to lose, they Avere 
resolved obstinately to persist in their de- 
mands, until their wishes Avere satisfied or the 
Colony ruined. Their idleness and dissipation 
prevailed to such a formidable degree that the 
people were on the verge of starvation. The 
object of the trustees was to compel them to 
labor, and their object was to live without 
labor." The trustees required nothing from 
the people, but what they had bound them- 
selves by covenant to perform. " The Germans 
and Highlanders, having been brought up in 
habits of industry, yielded to a fulfilment of 
their contracts for the public good, and under 
a full confidence that the trustees Avould in 
due time extend to them such privileges as 
would eventually lead to their interest and 

From the petitions of the Highlanders, we 
give the following extract: 



To his Excellency James Oglethorpe. 

We are informed that our neighbors of 
Savannah have petitioned your Excellency 
for the liberty of having slaves : We hope 
and earnestly entreat that, before such propo- 
sals are hearkened to, your Excellency will 
consider our situation, and of w^hat dangerous 
and bad consequences such liberty would be 
to us, for many reasons. 

First. The nearness of the Spaniards, who 
have proclaimed freedom to all slaves who 
run aAvay from their masters, makes it impos- 
sible for us to keep them without more labor 
in watching than we would be at to do their 

Second. We are laborious, and know a white 
man may be, by a year, more usefully em- 
ployed than a negro. 

Third. We are not rich, and becoming 
debtors for slaves, in case of their running 
away, or dying, would inevitably ruin the poor 
master, and he become a greater slave to the 
negro merchant than the slave he bought 
could be to him. 

Fourth. It would oblige us to keep a guard 
of duty at least as severe as when we expected 
a daily invasion ; and if that were the case, 
how miserable would it be for us and our 
wives and children — an enemy without, and a 
more dangerous one in our bosom. 

The fifth objection stated was the moral 
wrong of the proposed measure. 

From the memorial of the Germans we give 
the following extract : 

"Though it is here a hotter climate than 
our native country is, yet not so extremely 
hot as we were told on the first time of our 
arrival; but since we have now been used to 
the country, we find it tolerable, and for work- 
ing people convenient, setting themselves to 
work early in the morning till ten o'clock, 
and in the afternoon from three to sunset ; 
and having business at home, we do it in our 
huts and houses in the middle of the day, 
till the greatest heat is over. People in Ger- 
many are hindered by frost and snow, in the 
winter, from doing any work in the fields and 
vineyards ; but we have this preference, to do 
the most and heaviest work at such a time, 
preparing the ground sufficiently for planting 
in the spring. We were told by several peo- 
ple, after our arrival, that it proves quite 
impossible and dangerous, for white people to 
plant and manufacture rice, being a work for 
negroes ; but having experience to the contrary, 
we laugh at such talking, seeing that several 
people of us have had in, last harvest, a greater 
crop than they wanted for their own con- 

" We humbly beseech the honorable trustees 
not to allow it, that any negro might be brought 
to our place or in our neighborhood, knowing 
by experience that our fields and gardens will 
always be robbed by them, and white persons 
be put in danger of life because of them, 
besides other great inconveniences.'' — Vide 
McCalVs History of Georgia. 


Report presented by the Managers to the Society^ 
at its first Annual Meeting. — \Extract.'\ 

" It is a melancholy truth, that unconditional 
slavery exists in the United States, although 
it is the first of nations in understanding the 
rights of man, and is not backward in pro- 
claiming its exclusive possession of liberty. 
The evil is great, and is regretted by all en- 
lightened citizens. It was incorporated into 
our institutions by the Government from which 
we separated, and the difficulty is, how to get 
clear of it with justice to all concerned, and 
with a due regard to individual rights and 
national safety. Some of the States are free 
from this evil, while others have still to bear 
the burden. Shortly after Kentucky assumed 
her station among her sister States, the ques- 
tion was tried, in the canvass for her last 
Convention, whether she should or should not 
be one of those which retained slavery. It 
was decided, by not large majorities, that the 
evil should remain, because its extirpation 
could not be effected without too great an in- 
jury to those who had already fixed upon this 
as their home, with numerous slaves, acquired 
and possessed under pre-existing laws of un- 
doubted validity. Since then, experience has 
taught us that slaves add nothing to our 
national wealth. Where thoy exist, labor is 
not only high, but badly performed ; and the 
communities grooving up around us, who are 
clear of this evil, flourish over us, and by their 
cheapness of labor, nicer mechanism, and 
more abundant industry, are making us trib- 
utary. The progress of light, the conduct 
of other nations — and particularly those of 
our South American neighbors— in liberating 
their slaves, the growing belief of the disad- 
vantages of slavery, with other causes, con- 
tribute to increase the conviction that slavery 
is an evil, and that its consequences may one 
day or other become terrible. Add to this 
the growing plans of Christian benevolence in 
operation, strive to render man more happy, 
and a commendable philanthropy induces us 
to wish for the happiness of every class of the 
children of Adam." — See African (^Coloniza- 
tion) Repository, May, 1830. 


Extracts from an Address delivered before the 
Hawkins County Colonization Society, Ten- 
nessee, by John A. McKinney, Esq., July 
Uh, 1830. 

" But this is not all the good the Society 
proposes to do. For more than three hundred 
years, an odious traffic in human flesh has 
been carried on from the western coast of 
Africa to the continent of America, Avhich, 
in its consequences, has produced more un- 
mingled woe than any other calamity Avhich 
has ever befallen the human family. It is not 
my purpose to enter into a minute detail of 
this abominable, Heaven-detested commerce. 
Suffice it to say, that for hundreds of years 
past, about eighty thousand human beings have 



been torn from their homes and their friends, 
and all their earthly attachments, in each anl 
every year of that long and dreary period. 

" When the Spaniards discovered the island 
of St. Domingo, it was supposed to contain 
upwards of a million of inhabitants. And in 
the short space of fifteen years that vast mul- 
titude had been reduced to about sixty thou- 
sand, and they were diminishing daily. About 
this time it was discovered that the western 
coast of Africa was peopled with a hardy 
race, who were capable of enduring toil, and 
whose constitutions were adapted to the heat 
of a tropical climate. Thither the Spaniards 
turned their eyes, as to a place where slaves 
could be procured to labor in their mines ; 
and from that accursed hour until the present 
time, the inhabitants of Africa have been torn 
from home, and all the sweets and comforts 
of home, and have been dragged into bondage 
under circumstances of cruelty and barbarity 
which has stamped everlasting infamy on all 
the actors in and aiders and abettors of this 
horrible traffic. 

"When the slave traders first visited the 
western coast of Africa, it is said to have 
been a most delightful country. It was thickly 
studded with villages, and swarmed with a 
population who were simple in their manners, 
amiable in their dispositions, and were in the 
quiet enjoyment of the bounties which nature 
had bestowed upon them in great profusion. 
It is true they were not civilized, according to 
our ideas of civilization ; and it is also true, 
that nature had stamped on them a complexion 
different from ours ; but still they were com- 
paratively an innocent, happy, unoffending 
race. But the scene has been sadly changed 
in that ill-fated country — a country red with 
black men^s blood, and black with white men's 

" The slave traders introduced among these 
simple people everything that could please the 
fancy, excite the cupidity, or rouse the passions 
of uncivilized persons. They fomented quar- 
rels among them, and furnished them with the 
means of destroying each other, until at length 
every man's hand was turned against his 
brother. The consequence was, that the na- 
tive tribes on the coast of Africa made war on 
each other, in which the great object was to 
make prisoners ; and every person who was 
taken prisoner was sold to the slave dealer, 
and was hurried on board the slave ships which 
were constantly hovering off the shores of 
that devoted land. 

" But, indeed, it is impossible to portray the 
sorrows and sufferings of the wretched sons 
and daughters of Africa. Think, if you can 
conceive of it ; measure, if you can ascertain 
its dimensions, the length, and breadth, and 
height, and depth, of that tremendous load of 
grief which presses on the heart of the captive, 
when he casts the last lingering look on all he 
is leaving, when he is about to be torn from 
home and all its pleasures, from his kindred 
and all their sympathies, and to be carried to 
a returnless distance from all he holds dear 

on earth ! Form an idea, if you can, of that 
unutterable desolation which encompasses the 
father and mother whose children have been 
torn from them in a moment, and of whom they 
are never again to hear any intelligence on this 
side of the grave ! Conceive, if you can, the 
bitterness of that cup of woe Avhich the cap- 
tive drinks to the dregs, as he is carried across 
the ocean in a floating dungeon, the draught 
continually embittered by the remembrance 
of that home and those friends he never more 
shall see ! Bring these things home to your 
own doors, and measure them by your own 
feelings, and tell the result if you can ! Think 
not that these people, either in the laud from 
which they came or in that to which they are 
carried, do not feel like other human beings 
in like circumstances. It is a sad mistake to 
think so. 

" Fleecy locks and black complezion 

Caiiiiol forfeit nature's claim; 
Skins may differ, but affection 

Dwells in wiiite and black the same 

Happy indeed would it be for these wretched 
captives, if they lost their feeling at the same 
time that they lost their freedom. But they 
do continue to feel, and that most keenly ; 
and such is the effect of that unutterable 
despair, which takes possession of their whole 
souls, that it prompts them to adopt every 
means in their power to destroy their misera- 
ble lives. 

" Of the eighty thousand persons supposed to 
have been carried captive yearly, from the con- 
tinent of Africa, one-third of the whole num- 
ber are supposed to have died on the passage, 
from causes, some of which I have enumerated, 
and have been buried in the ocean. Another 
third are supposed to have died in what is 
called the seasoning — that is, in becoming 
acclimated to the countries to which they 
have been carried — so that out of the eighty 
thousand persons torn from Africa every year, 
upwards of fifty thousaad have died of broken 
hearts, and other causes, in the course of a 
few months from the time the galling chain 
of slavery was fastened round their necks. 
Oh! what a prodigious waste of human life! 
Let us pause for a moment, and form an idea, 
if we can, of that mighty multitude of the mur- 
dered sons and daughters of Africa, who, on 
that day when the ocean shall give up its dead, 
shall appear at the bar of God to demand ven- 
geance on their cruel murderers! Can any 
one for a moment contemplate this long pro- 
tracted scene of villainy, and not be satisfied 
that there is need for, and must be a day of 
awful retribution approaching ? 

" In fact, the Colonization Society proposes 
the only means by which this accursed trade 
can or ever will be effectually stopped ; and 
indeed the Colony of Liberia, which this Soci- 
ety has planted, has already freed about two 
hundred and fifty miles of that coast from the 
ravages of these enemies of the human race. 
And who, let me ask, will avow by his conduct 
that he possesses a heart so cold, so regardless 
of the feelings of humanity and the best in- 



terests of society, and so engrossed with its 
own interests, and its own cares, and its own 
pleasures, that he will not move a step, nor do 
an act, in aid of those who are planning and 
executing such great and glorious achieve- 
ments? I hope the number of such is small, 
and that it will speedily diminish, until there 
shall not be an individual found, in all our 
happy land, who will not cheerfully contribute 
a little of his property, and the whole of his 
influence, be that much or little, until the sons 
and daughters- of Africa shall be restored to 
that country from which their parents were 
feloniously and barbarously stolen ; until our 
beloved country shall be freed from a great 
and sore evil, with which she is now afflicted ; 
until that hateful traffic in human flesh, which 
has so long and so cruelly desolated and now 
desolates the African continent, shall be for- 
ever done away ; and until the light of the 
gospel shall shine into every dark recess of 
that much-injured part of the world." * * * 
" And let it be remembered that the forlorn 
and wretched part of the community, on whose 
behalf I would enlist your feelings and excite 
your compassion, are emphatically our neigh- 
bors. They are bone of our bone and flesh of 
our flesh ; and if we could be made to ex- 
change situations with them, and to sulfer as 
they suffer, and to feel as they feel, and think 
as they think, we would then know by experi- 
ence how " hope deferred yaaketh the heart sick; " 
and then, could we again resume our former 
station, we would not need any argument to 
convince us that it is our duty to assist, by all 
lawful ways and means, the American Coloni- 
zation Society in the mighty enterprise in 
which it is engaged. Our contributions would 
then be liberal, for they would be prompted by 
our feelings as well as our judgment." — See 
African [Colonization) Repository, Oct., 1830. 

The Rev. Frederick A. Ross, in a letter to 
President Young, dated Kingston, Tenn., Feb- 
ruary 6, 1835, states that the letter of the 
latter gentleman on slavery, (see page 67 of 
this work,) had brought to determination his 
views on " slavery." This determination is 
announced as follows : 

"My last will and testament as to these ser- 
vants is to be fulfilled in conformity with 
measures of emancipation determined on, in 
reference to my slaves, January, 1835. The 
State of Tennessee forbids the manumission 
of slaves within its limits. But I can effect a 
virtual emancipation in this State, by adopting 
the apprentice system." 

[Here follows a statement of his plan.] 
He concludes his letter as follows : 
*' Your principles and my own are thus in 
practice. I am living under the new order of 
things. The servants are delighted — better 
pleased, they assure me, than they would have 
been with a sudden change to uncontrolled 
freedom. I hope I have not erred in my duty. 
Sometimes we are deceived when we think 

we have the light of the spirit of God and 
the approbation of conscience. If I am wrong, 
it is under such persuasion and approval of 

" In Kentucky, you are in advance of us in 
preparation for measures of emancipation. But 
if we were not joined politically to West Ten- 
nessee, we of East Tennessee would be moving 
even before you of Kentucky on this subject. 
Our soundest politicians would at once have 
their deliberations drawn to incipient meas- 
ures, were they not restrained by our connec- 
tion with the other part of the State. " 


On the 15th of January, 1835, the Hon. 
Joseph Underwood delivered an Address to 
the Colonization Society of Kentucky, from 
which I extract the following paragraphs : 

" For myself, I can say, that the difference 
between the domestic slave trade and that 
which our forefathers carried on upon the 
coasts of Africa is so trifling, that I should be 
willing to arrest the one as soon as the other. 
But I should not undertake to do it by eman- 
cipating the slaves and permitting them to re- 
main among us. 

" I will endeavor to point out to the aboli- 
tionist a better remedy. There are, as we 
have already seen, only three thousand nine 
hundred and fourteen male and female slaves 
in Kentucky, in their iTth year. Now, if we 
were to send to Africa, annually, four thou- 
sand males and females, half to be females, 
and in their sixteenth or seventeenth year, we 
should soon begin to break up all the evils of 
slavery, &c. * * * 

" It must be obvious to every one, that it is 
not a want of ability to raise the means, but that 
it is a want of will to engage in the work, or to 
suffer the slaves who are fit for colonization to 
do it for themselves. Our purses are not the 
cause of the failure. The Egyptians would not 
let the Israelites go. Our eager pursuit of wealth 
and rank scarcely allows us time to think of 
a benevolent work, much less to do it; and 
there lies the cause of the failure. If every 
bosom contained a fountain of love, deep and 
broad enough to buoy up the glory and welfare 
of mankind, we should return to Africa her 
long-persecuted race, and exterminate slavery 
at home, with a certainty and success which 
would astonish the world. 

" I think the remarks made must convince 
the abolitionist, that colonization, carried on 
upon the plan suggested, would extirpate sla- 
very in Kentucky, and produce a separation 
between the whites and blacks, locating each 
race in a congenial climate, and laying a sure 
foundation for the permanent felicity of both. 
If he wishes to contemplate the operations of 
the scheme upon a still larger scale, I need only 
inform him that there are three hundred and 
twelve thousand five hundred and sixty-seven 
male slaves, of ten and under twenty-four 
years of age, and three hundred and eight 
thousand seven hundred and seventy females, 
of the same age, in the United States. Divide 



these numbers by fourteen, and it will give 
twenty-two thousand three hundred and twen- 
ty-six males, and twenty-two thousand and 
fifty-five females, in their seventeenth year, or 
a total of forty-four thousand three hundred 
and eighty-one, which should be annually col- 
onized; the expense of doing which, would 
only amount to one million five hundred and 
fifty-three thousand three hundred and thirty- 
five dollars. Half the proceeds of the sale of 
the public lands, applied to the object, would 
accomplish it." — See African {Colonization) Re- 
pository ^ May, 1835. 

[From the Lexington Observer and Reporter ] 
TUCKY.— 1835. 

Convention. — At a large and respectable 
meeting of the citizens of Shelby county, held 
at the court-house in Shelbyville, Ky., on Sat- 
urday, the 23d May, in conformity with notice 
previously given, to discuss the expediency of 
taking the sense of the voters of this Common- 
wealth, as to the propriety of calling a conven- 
tion to form a new Constitution, Major Samuel 
White being called to the chair, the following 
resolutions were offered, and, after considera- 
ble discussion, adopted, without a dissenting 
voice : 

Resolved^ That the system of domestic slave- 
ry, as it now exists in this Commonwealth, is 
both a moral and political evil, and a violation 
of the natural rights of man. 

Resolved, as the opinion of this meeting, 
That the additional value which would be given 
to our property and its products, by the intro- 
duction of free white labor, would in itself 
be suflTicient, under a system of gradual eman- 
cipation, to transport the whole of our popula- 

Resolced, That no system of emancipation 
will meet with our approbation, unless coloni- 
zation be inseparably connected with it; and 
that any scheme of emancipation which will 
leave the blacks within our borders is more to 
be deprecated than slavery itself 

Resolved, That it is believed by the present 
meeting, that the time has arrived for the peo- 
ple of Kentucky to call a convention, with the 
view of providing for the prospective emanci- 
pation of slaves, and for other purposes. 

Resolved, That all present, who have voted 
for ihe above resolutions, do hereby pledge 
themselves to use all lawful and prudent means 
to promote the objects expressed therein. 

Resolved, That the editors of newspapers 
throughout the State are hereby respectfully 
solicited to publish the proceedings of this 
meeting in their respective papers. 

Resolved, That this meeting now adjourn, to 
convene again at this place on Saturday next, 
at 2 o"clo(;k, P. M., to discuss further the sub- 
jects presented in the preceding resolutions ; 
and all citizens are solicited to attend and 


At the annual meeting of the American 
Colonization Society, in January, 1832, the 
following highly interesting letters from ex- 
President Madison and Chief Justice Marshall 
were read by the Rev. R. R. Gurley, the Sec- 
retary, to whom they were addressed : 

" MoNTPELiER, December 29, 1831. 

"Dear Sir: I received, in due time, your 
letter of the 21st ult., and with due sensibility 
to the subject of it. Such, however, has been 
the effect of a painful rheumatism on my gen- 
eral condition, as well as in disqualifying my 
fingers for the use of the pen, that I could not 
do justice ' to the principles and measures of 
the Colonization Society, in all the great and 
various relations they sustain to our own coun- 
try and to Africa,' if my views of them could 
have the value which your partiality supposes. 
I may observe, in brief, that the Society had 
always my good wishes, though with hopes of 
its success less sanguine than were entertained 
by others found to have been the better judges ; 
and that I feel the greatest pleasure at the 
progress already made by the Society, and the 
encouragement to encounter remaining diffi- 
culties afforded by the earlier and greater ones 
already overcome. Many circumstances at the 
present moment seem to concur in brightening 
the prospects of the Society, and cherishing 
the hope that the time will come when the 
dreadful calamity which has so long aflSicted 
our country, and filled so many with despair, 
will be gradually removed, and by means con- 
sistent with justice, peace-, and the general 
satisfaction ; thus giving to our country the full 
enjoyment of the blessings of liberty, and to the 
woi'ld the full benefit of its great example. I 
never considered the main difficulty of the 
great work as lying in the deficiency of eman- 
cipation, but in an inadequacy of asylums for 
such a growing mass of population, and in the 
great expense of removing it to its new liome. 
The spirit of private manumission, as the laws 
may permit and the exiles may consent, is in- 
creasing and will increase ; and there are 
sufficient indications that the public authori- 
ties, in slaveholding States, are looking forward 
to interpositions, in different forms, that must 
have a powerful effect. With respect to the 
new abode for the emigrants, all agree that the 
choice made by the Society is rendered peculiar- 
ly appropriate by considerations which need not 
be repeated; and if other situations should not 
be found eligible receptacles for a portion of 
them, the prospects in Africa seem to be ex- 
panding in a highly encouraging degree. 

" In contemplating the pecuniary resources 
needed for the removal of such a number to 
so great a distance, iny thoughts and hopes have 
been long turned to the rich fund presented in the 
Western lands of the nation, which icill soon en- 
tirely cease to be under a pledge for another object. 
The great one in question is truly of a nation- 
al character, and it is known that distinguished 
patriots, not dwelling in slaveholding States, 
have viewed the object in that light, and would 



be willing to let the national domain be a re- 
source in effecting it. 

"Should it be remarked that the States, 
though all may be interested in relieving our 
country from the colored population, they are 
not equally so ; it is but fair to recollect, that 
the sections most to be benefitted are those 
whose cessions created the fund to be dis- 
posed of. 

" I am aware of the constitutional obstacle 
which has presented itself; but if the general 
will be reconciled to an application of the ter- 
ritorial fund to the removal of the colored 
population, a grant to Congress of the neces- 
sary authority could be carried, with little 
delay, through the forms of the Constitution. 

''Sincerely wishing an increasing success to 
the labors of the Society, I pray you to be 
assured of my esteem, and to accept my 
friendly salutations. James Madison." 

"Richmond, Deceviber 14, 1831. 

"Dear Sir: I received your letter of the 7th, 
in the course of the mail, but it was not ac- 
companied by the documents you mention. 

" I undoubtedly feel a deep interest in the 
success of the Society; but, if I had not long 
since formed a resolution against appearing in 
print on any occasion, I should now be unable 
to comply with your request. In addition to 
various occupations which press on me very 
seriously, the present state of my family is 
such as to prevent ray attempting to prepare 
anything for publication. 

" The great object of the Society, I presume, 
is to obtain pecuniary aids. Application will 
undoubtedly be made, I hope successfully, to 
the several State Legislatures, by the societies 
formed within them, respectively. It is ex- 
tremely desirable that they should pass per- 
manent laws on the subject, and the excitement 
produced by the late insurrection makes this 
a favorable moment for the friends of the col- 
ony to press for such acts. It would be also 
desirable, if such a direction could be given 
to State legislation as might have some tend- 
ency to incline the people of color to mi^ate. 
This, however, is a subject of much deliffacy. 
Whatever may be the success of our endeavors 
to obtain acts for permanent aids, I have no 
doubt that our applications for immediate con- 
tributions will receive attention. It is possi- 
ble, though not probable, that more people of 
color may be disposed to migrate than can be 
provided for with the funds the Society may 
be enabled to command. Under this impres- 
sion, I suggested, some j^ears past, to one or 
two of the Board of Managers, to allow a small 
additional bounty, in lands, to those who would 
pay their own passage, in whole or in part. 
The suggestion, however, was not approved. 

" It is undoubtedly of great importance to 
retain the countenance and protection of the 
General Government. Some of our cruisers, 
stationed on the coast of Africa, would, at the 
same time, interrupt the slave trade — a horri- 

ble traffic, detested by all good men — and would 
protect the vessels and commerce of the colony 
from piraies, who infest those seas. The power 
of the Government to afford this aid is not, I 
believe, contested. I regret that its power to 
grant pecuniary aid is not equally free from 
question. On this subject, I have always 
thought, and still think, that the proposition 
made by Mr. King, in the Senate, is the most 
unexceptionable, and the most effective that 
can be devised. 

" The fund would probably operate as rap- 
idly as would be desirable, when we take into 
view the other resources which might come 
in aid of it, and its application would be per- 
haps less exposed to those constitutional ob- 
jections which are made in the South, than 
the application of money drawn from the Treas- 
ury, and raised by taxes. The lands are the 
property of the United States, and have here- 
tofore been disposed of by the Government, 
under the idea of absolute ownership. The 
cessions of the several States convey them to 
the General Government, for the common ben- 
efit, without prescribing any limits to the 
judgment of Congress, or any rule by which 
that judgment shall be exercised. The cession 
of Virginia, indeed, seems to look to an appor- 
tionment of the fund among the States, ' ac- 
cording to their several respective proportions 
in the general charge and expenditure.' But 
this cession was made at a time when the lands 
were believed to be the only available fund for 
paying the debts of the United States and 
supporting their Government. This condition 
has probably been supposed to be controlled 
by the existing Constitution, which gives Con- 
gress ' power to dispose of, and make all 
needful rules and regulations respecting, the 
territories or the property belonging to the 
United States.' It is certain that the donations 
made for roads and colleges are not in propor- 
tion to the part borne by each State of the 
general expenditure. The removal of our col- 
ored population is, I think, a common object, 
by no means confined to the slave States, 
although they are more immediately interested 
in it. The whole Union would be strengthened 
by it, and relieved from a danger whose extent 
can scarcely be estimated. It lessens very 
much, in my estimation, the objection, in a 
political view, to the application of this ample 
fund, that our lands are becoming an object 
for which the States are to scramble, and 
which threatens to sow the seeds of discord 
among us, instead of being what they might 
be — a source of national wealth. 

"I am, dear sir, with great and respectful es- 
teem, your obedient servant, 

"J. Marshall." 

Extracts from the Speech of the Hon. William S. 
Archer, of Virginia, at the loth Annual Meet- 
ing of the American Colonization Society. 

"These were claims to no ordinary approval 
of the office and operation of the Society. 



Another, however, belongs to it, far greater. 
Mr. Archer said that he was not one of those 
(however desirable it might be, and was, in 
abstract speculation) who looked to the com- 
plete removal of slavery from among us. If 
that 'consummation, devoutly to be wished,' 
were to be considered feasible at all, it was at 
a period too remote to warrant the expenditure 
of any resource of contemplation or contribu- 
tion now. But a great benefit, short of this, 
was within reach, and made part of the scope 
of operation of the plan of the Society. The 
progress of slavery was subjected to the ac- 
tion of a law of the utmost regularity of action. 
Where this progress was neither stayed nor 
modified by causes of collateral operation, it 
hastened with a frightful rapidity, dispropor- 
tioned entirely to the ordinary law of the 
advancement of population, to its catastrophe, 
which was repletion. If none were drained 
away, slaves became, except under peculiar 
circumstances of climate and production, in- 
evitably and speedily redundant, first to the 
occasions of profitable employment, and, as a 
consequence, to the faculty of comfortable pro- 
vision for them. No matter what the human- 
ity of the owners, fixed restriction on their 
resources must transfer itself to the comfort, 
and then the subsistence, of the slave. At 
this last stage, the evil, in this form, had to 
stop. To this stage (from the disproportioned 
rate of multiplication of the slaves — double 
that of the owners, in this country) it was 
obliged, though at different periods in differ- 
ent circumstances, to come. When this stage 
had been reached, what course or remedy re- 
mained? Was open butchery to be resorted 
to, as among the Spartans with the Helots? 
Or general emancipation and incorporation, as 
in South America? Or abandonment of the 
counti'y by the masters, as must come to be 
the case in the West Indies? Either of these 
was a deplorable catastrophe. Could all of 
them be avoided, and if they could, how? 
There was but oneway; but that might be 
made effectual, fortunately ! It wag to provide 
and keep open a drain for the excess of increase 
beyond the occasions of profitable employment. 
This might be done effectually, by exten- 
sion of the plan of the Society. The drain 
was already opened. All that was necessary 
would be, to provide for the enlargement of 
the channel, as occasion might demand. To 
this end, aid was looked for from the Govern- 
ment of the United States. This would re- 
quire, Mr. Archer thought, an amendment to 
the Constitution to authorize it — a resource 
of precarious reliance. But the resources of 
the States within which the evil was found 
were entirely adequate to the object. * * * 
"Large and overwhelming evils induce in- 
ertness and torpor in the public mind, which it 
demands some signal incident or catastrophe 
to awaken and direct to salutary action. This 
has been the case, in an especial manner, with 
the portentous evil in question. A recent and 
most tragical catastrophe, of which his own 
State had been the scene, had now put the public 

mind wide awake to the interest of this great 
subject, in every quarter. The moment ought 
not surely to be lost. Men could not now say, 
as they were wont, of the extremest peril and 
crisis of this evil, they will not come in our 

"It was demonstrated by proof of frightful 
validity that the peril impended, that the crisis 
might come on any day. No, he was wrong. 
It was not in the day that this form of horrors 
ever disclosed itself It came in the night — 
disclosed itself in the midnight glare of habi- 
tations, in which every form of outrage and 
butchery had previously been wreaked on 
every form of life and helplessness, even to 
the sleep of the cradle." 


Extracts from the Report of the Board of 3Ian- 
agers of the Lynchburg Auxiliary Colonization 
Society, presented by J. B. Harrison, Esq. — 

"Indeed, it strikes us forcibly that there is 
now, and always has been, an essential differ- 
ence between the sentiment of Virginia and 
South Carolina on the whole subject of slavery. 
If we may consider the author of an able 
pamphlet, by Brutus, as speaking the voice of 
our opponents in Carolina, we shall find, by a 
close analysis, that the true grounds of their 
hostility are : 1st. An apprehension that there 
does exist in all the non-slaveholding States a 
rooted design to abolish slavery among us — 
an apprehension which we will briefly declare, 
in our opinion, to be, to any great extent, 
manifestly unfounded. In proof of this, let 
them reflect either on the declaration of Mr. 
Everett, that, in case of an insurrection of our 
slaves, he and his fellow-citizens of Massachu- 
setts would be the first to take the knapsack and 
the musket, to fight for us the holy war of our 
deliverance; or, let them believe Mr. McDufiBe, 
who declared that he could most sincerely tell 
them that there were not twenty men in Con- 
gress who would not vote as South Carolina 
would wish, on a proposal to interfere in any 
manner with her slaves. Let then this un- 
wortljy suspicion be forever dismissed. 2d. 
However, they think it a full justification for 
all their hostility, that a society dares to exist 
which speaks of slavery at all; and Avhich, by 
the most remote implication, can be shown to 
desire the amelioration of slavery. We, of 
Virginia, have never so much dreaded the bare 
hinting at slavery as an evil, as to attempt to 
suppress the natural workings of human nature. 
Before the Revolution we passed twenty-three 
acts to suppress the evil ; all negatived by the 
King. As early as 1'7T6, feeling that it was an 
evil, we did not go into a corner to whisper out 
a craven humanity; but we boldly closed up 
and locked forever the great gate through which 
the pestilence was to be perpetually rein- 
forced — we abolished the slave trade. South 
Carolina laughed then at our fanaticism, and 
pretended to tremble at our pernicious exam- 
ple. Her nerves proved tough for thirty-two 



years after this ; and, up to the very last limit 
of the patience of the other States, the slave 
ship showed its ill-fated flag in her harbors. 

"From a period as early as 1782 we permitted 
aiiy master, by deed or will, to emancipate his 
slaves; and in 1806, for the best reasons, en- 
tirely accordant with the principles of this 
Society, too, we added a clause requiring such 
emancipated persons to depart out of the State. 
Yet we learn from Brutus that no slave can 
by law be emancipated in South Carolina 
without a special act of the Legislature ; and 
that the Legislature has, particularly of late 
years, set its face against all emancipation. 
Will any one, after this, seek to ally the feeling 
of Virginia on this head with that of Caro- 
lina? We can give but cold applause to that 
patriotism which declares war against the 
most distant tendency — we use the words of 
Brutus — 'to weaken the attachment of our 
citizens to the policy which is the life-blood 
of Carolina,' and proclaims that domestic ser- 
vitude is so essentially interwoven with her 
prosperity, that for her OAvn citizens to speak 
of its abolition, now or in any future time, is 
to talk of striking her out of political and 
civil existence. — [Brutus, page 124.) As for 
us, we mean to allow no dictation of the non- 
slaveholders ; but, in bidding them hold off", 
we cannot use such arguments as these. God 
forbid that we should be driven to incorporate 
with our every-day sentiments of liberty the 
detestable paradox which those arguments 
imply. There are not, we believe, a hundred 
men in Virginia who do not hope their poster- 
ity may one day find it fit to relieve themselves 
of this curse. We should be unworthy of the 
beautiful system which it mars, did we not 
lament its existence ' as a stain upon a vestal's 
robe, the worse for what it soils.' " * * * 

" If it indeed be true that the richest cotton 
lands of Carolina can never be cultivated ex- 
cept by slave labor, we sincerely pity our 
brethren for their embarrassing condition; but 
this of itself puts up a perpetual barrier be- 
tween the interests of Virginia and Carolina, 
which no attachment for them can make us 
throw down. Virginia, at least, has no physi- 
cal obstacle which will decree her never to 
become a flourishing Commonwealth of ho- 
mogeneous freemen." 

Extract from a Discourse delivered before the 
Lynchburg [Va.) Colonization Society, at its 
Anniversary, in July, 1827, by J. B. Harri- 
son, Esq. 

" But shall it be, indeed, matter of reproach 
to the Society, that it offers a mode whereby 
such as are perfectly willing may relieve them- 
selves of their slaves without possibility of 
danger to the community ? Are the masters 
in Virginia afraid to trust themselves to the 
temptation of an opportunity so inviting to 
patriotism, so free from ill consequence as this 
will be, I trust, in some future day? For 
surely this thing will never be done without 
our entire consent. But I draw nearer. I take 

it for granted, it is impossible for me to doubt 
it, that every individual slaveholder in the 
United States acknowledges the injustice and 
violence of the right he assumes over his slaves, 
and feels it his duty, before God and to his 
country, to renounce that right whenever he 
can do it with safety to the community and to 
the real benefit of the slaves. Men may doubt 
about the fitness of an opportunity; the op- 
portunity may not yet be come ; may not come 
for one or two centuries ; but the wise know 
that it will come, and patriotism trusts it may 
come soon. When it has arrived, I know that 
honest men will take but one course. I do 
not condemn, let me be understood, their de- 
tention in bondage under the circumstances 
which are yet existing. I may be permitted 
to declare that I would be a slaveholder to-day, 
without scruple. But, Mr. President, I hold 
it due to candor to say, that if there be a 
statesman in the United States — and I believe 
there are two or three such — who is content 
that we shall always hold them in servitude, 
and would advise us to rest contented with 
them, us, and our posterity, without seeking or 
accepting means of liberating ourselves and 
them, he deserves a heavier vengeance than the 
orator's bile — the curses alike of America, 
counselled to her ruin, and of outraged Africa. 
Let me not be considered harsh ; for inasmuch 
as the piratical trader for human beings on the 
African coast — the master of the slave ship — 
is the most detestable of monsters in action, 
so, I must say, is the advocate by cool argument 
of slavery in the abstract, odious in thought. 
I know such is not the feeling of Virginia ; we 
hope that one day or other, more propitious 
than the present, it must be, our posterity shall 
see this a liberated land." * * * 

"And if I might divine something of the fu- 
ture, I would say, that after ten years to come, 
it will be with two classes of foes that we 
shall have chiefly to contend. The first is that 
number of men, not large I trust, who still 
look on their slaves in the light in which most 
men regarded them when the slave trade was 
legitimate. There are not many such in Vir- 
ginia. Almost all masters there assent to the 
proposition, that when the slaves can be lib- 
erated without danger to ourselves, and to their 
own advantage, it ought to be done. Of those, 
wherever they are, who hold their slaves with 
that same sentiment which impelled the kid- 
napper when he forcibly bore them off", I know 
not how morality can distinguish them from 
the original wrong-doers, pirates by nature, 
and pirates by civilized law. And if there are 
few such in Virginia, I feel assured that there 
are also few such anywhere in the South." 

Extract from an Address delivered in September, 
1832, before the Madison County (Ala.) Colo- 
nization Society, by H. J. Thornton, Esq. 
"Mr. President : I have thus far only con- 
sidered this Society in its primary object and 
its most obvious bearings. I intimated, how- 



ever, that in its cousequences (and in that view 
I frankly confess its interests are doubly en- 
deared to me) it might lead to the gentle and 
gradual, though certain and final, extermina- 
tion of domestic slavery. Many of its friends 
entertain the ardent hope that a little outlet 
is here made, through which, in time, the 
whole mass of our black population may be 
drained; and every one must admit, that if, 
from any cause yet latent in the gloom of fu- 
turity, a total abolition should become desira- 
ble or necessary, the prosperous operation of 
the Colony of Liberia will have rendered that 
object both feasible and facile. 

" With regard to the manner in which the 
object just alluded to may be effectuated 
through me medium of this Society, if the 
c«bject itself, under any and all circumstances, 
be not objectionable, which I trust is not the 
case, I feel assured that the means it proposes 
cannot be repudiated. They seem to be just 
and unexceptionable. The leading cause in 
this effect will be voluntary emancipation. 
When so happy a receptacle shall have been 
established for freed slaves, there can be no 
just obstacle interposed to the exercise of in- 
dividual beneficence in this behalf. The be- 
nevolence of masters will be quickened as by 
a new birth, when the assurance is felt that 
an un mingled blessing will be conferred upon 
its object. Even hitherto, when that charity 
was, to say the least of it, doubtful as it re- 
garded its object, and positively detrimental to 
the community, 3^et it has been flowing on in a 
constant and unremitting stream. Maj' we not 
suppose that it will swell to overflowing, under 
the benign auspices of this institution? W^hen 
emancipation shall have progressed until, by 
the vacuum created, a large mass of free white 
labor shall be called into action, its superior 
advantages will be universally experienced, 
and even sordid avarice will begin to release 
her grasp upon the slave. In some instances 
the Socict}' has encountered opposition, from 
the very fact of its likelihood to produce this 
result. Such opposition, however, I am per- 
suaded, will yield to better reflection. If it 
be demonstrated that no private right is to be 
violated — that no slave is to be liberated ex- 
cept by the free consent of his owner, and 
that consent, too, as we suppose, founded upon 
a full and just apprehension of his own inter- 
est, would not a continued opposition exhibit 
a strange example of human perversity? If 
we interpose barriers to the exercise of the 
will of the master to liberate his slave, do we 
not commit the very violence upon his rights 
which we slander the promoters of colonization 
with endeavoring to practice upon ourselves? 
It surely is so, unless this singular paralogism 
can be maintained, that there is only a right 
to possess and enjoy this species of property, 
and no right to abandon it." — See African 
(^Colonization) Repository^ June, 1833. 


Extract from an Address delivered before the 
Lynchburg Auxiliary Colonization Society, at 

its Anniversary Meeting, held on the loth of 
August, 1833, by Richard H. Toler. 
"Mr. President: At a very early period of 
our colonial history, our wisest and best men 
perceived and felt the blighting and demoral- 
izing evil which had been entailed on the fairest 
portion of tlie New World, by the mistaken pol- 
icy of the colonists. The slave ship, freighted 
with the heaviest curse in which the love of 
gold ever tempted man to traffic, soon follow- 
ed the first settlers of this continent across the 
waters; and, unhappily for them and for us, 
and for generations yet unborn, instead of 
being indignantly driven from our coast, she 
was permitted to furl her sails in our harbors, 
and to pour her vile cargo on our shores, then 
for the first time burdened with a human be- 
ing in bondage. The lure, sir, was too great 
to be resisted. It was too tempting to the in- 
dolence and pride of the colonists, who saw 
in it the means of revelling in the luxuries of 
wealth, coupled with exemption from that 
manual labor and toil which, without invol- 
untary servitude, would be necessary to obtain 
them. From that day to this, the evil has 
continued to grow and spread, until now its 
anaconda folds embrace within their deadly 
grasp a vast portion of the great American 
Confederacy. It has not thus continued to 
gather strength and power, however, without 
inspiring, even in the minds of those subject 
to its influence, and enjoying its supposed 
benefits, a deep conviction of its ruinous tend- 
encies; but that conviction has been also ac- 
companied by a not less sincerely entertained 
apprehension that it was as ineradicable as it 
was dangerous. Yet, sir, as I before remarked, 
at a comparatively early period of our history, 
some of our leading statesmen turned their 
anxious attention to this subject, (and, as they 
constituted a majority of the House of Bur- 
gesses, it is fair to infer that they were not far 
ahead of popular sentiment ;) but, despairing 
of undoing what had been already done, they 
contented themselves with arresting the in- 
crease of the evil by interdicting the farther 
importation of slaves from Africa. Several 
acts were passed by the Colonial Legislature 
in furtherance of this design ; but the Royal 
sanction being necessary to give them the 
character of laws, and that having been fruit- 
lessly applied for, the accursed traffic contin- 
ued until, under a better order of things, the 
Revolution having released us from foreign 
control, the slave trade was forbidden, as far 
as Virginia was concerned, under the severest 
penalties. But the principle of slavery had 
already been incorporated in our legal policy, 
and had interwoven its fibres in all the social 
relations. It was not possible — nor, if it had 
been possible, would it have been either just 
to the master or humane to the slave — to have 
disruptured the settled order of things, and, by 
a general statute of emancipation, to have rev- 
olutionized our social relations by raising the 
latter to an equality with the former. Their 
ignorance and their loose notions of morality 
would have rendered them unfit associates in 




the private circles of life, and ungovernable 
and danc^erous as citizens, even had not their 
difference of color precluded all idea of a 
gradual removal of the impediments to the 
amalgamation of the two races — impediments, 
springing not so much from their antecedent 
relations, as from that broad and ineffaceable 
badge of distinction stamped upon them by 
the hand of Providence. It seemed, therefore, 
to the wise and good men of that day, that sla- 
very having once taken root in our soil, and 
having grown with our growth and strength- 
ened with our strength in a ratio greatly favor- 
able to the final numerical ascendency of the 
blacks, it was fixed here forever by the unal- 
terable decree of Heaven. Indeed, I believe 
it was no uncommon sentiment at that day — 
and I doubt Avhether the opinion be not general 
now — that God has cursed the African with 
an obtuser intellect, and stamped him with a 
darker hue, and loaded him with servile chains, 
as the penalty for the transgressions of his 
reputed progenitor. But this is one of those 
popular errors which have their reign for a 
brief period, until they are dispelled by a more 
careful investigation into the truths of history, 
and a more philosophical application of those 
truths to current events. For my own part, 
I believe that the African is endowed with 
faculties as lofty, with perceptions as quick, 
with sensibilities as acute, and with natures as 
susceptible of improvement, as we are, who 
boast a fairer skin ; and that, operated upon by 
tTie same ennobling impulses, stimulated by 
the same generous motives, and favored b}^ the 
same adventitious circumstances, they would, 
as a mass, reach as high an elevation in the 
scale of moral refinement, and attain as great 
distinction on the broad theatre of intellectual 
achievement, as ourselves. And I am proud 
that the free citizens of this Republic are about 
to test the accuracy of this opinion — to offer to 
a portion of that 'doomed people' a country 
which they may call their own, and to encour- 
age them to kindle upon their hearth-stones 
the domestic fires around which they may 
daily gather their little households, and teach 
them the high moral lessons which raise man 
above the level of the brute, and give him 
some faint conception of that spark within 
which links him to the Deity." — See African 
i^Colonization) Repository, Dec., 1833. 

Extract from a Memorial of the Kentucky Colo- 
nization Society. 
To the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the United States, in Congress assembled: 
The undersigned petitioners, citizens of the 
State of Kentucky, would respectfully repre- 
sent, that we cordially unite with our fellow 
citizens of other States in the Union, in deeply 
lamenting the miseries attendant upon slavery ; 
and that we arc anxious to see those miseries 
mitigated by every possible means, not repug- 
nant to the rights of individuals or to the 
Constitution of the United States. 

It would be superfluous for us, on the present 
occasion, to attempt an enumeration of the 
evils resulting from slavery among us; permit 
us, however, to preseiit to your contemplation 
a picture drawn by the illustrious Jefferson 
nearly fifty years ago. We would particularly 
call your attention to that part of it which 
breathes a prophetic spirit, as applicable to the 
present times : "The whole commerce between 
master and slave," says he, "is a perpetual 
exercise of the most boisterous passions, the 
most unremitting despotism on the one part, 
and degrading submissions on the other. Our 
children see this, and learn to imitate it; for 
man is an imitative animal. This quality is 
the germ of education in him. From his cradle 
to his grave, he is learning what he sees others 
do. If a parent had no other motive, either 
in his own philanthropy or self-love, for re- 
straining the intemperance of passion towards 
his slave, it should always be a sufficient one 
that his child is present. But generally it is 
not sufficient. The parent storms, the child 
looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, 
puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller 
slaves, gives a loose to his worst of passions; 
and, thus nursed, educated, and exercised in 
tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with 
odious peculiarities. The man must be a prod- 
igy who can retain his manners and morals 
uudepraved by such circumstances," &c. 

The whole passage from Jefferson's Notes is 
recited in the memorial. 

I find the following paragraph, from a North 
Carolina paper, in the African [Colonization) 
Repository, August, 1829. 

" The Effects of Slave Labor. — John Nich- 
ols offers for sale that valuable property called 
the James river slate mines, sixty miles above 
Richmond, Va. He says his object is to relieve 
himself as far as possible from a dependence 
on slave labor. How many of our industrious 
and enterprising citizens, being disgusted with 
the idea of rearing a family of children in a 
land so rapidly peopling with slaves, have sold 
their possessions and removed themselves to 
Ohio, where the increasing prosperity of the 
people so strikingly demonstrates the superior 
advantage of free labor." — Greensborough (iV. 
C.) Patriot. 


Mr. Martin, after the adjournment of the 
Federal Convention, of which he was a mem- 
ber, was called upon, early in the year 1788, 
to deliver to the State Legislature a statement 
of the proceedings of the Convention. His 
statement was elaborate, and from it I take the 
following extract. See American Eloquence, 
by Frank Moore. D. Appleton & Co. 1857. 

" The report was adopted by a majority of the 
Convention, but not without considerable op- 

1 position. It was said that we had just assumed 
a place among independent nations, in conse- 
quence of our opposition to the attempts of 



Great Britain to enslave us; that this opposition 
"was grounded upon the preservation of those 
rights to which God and nature entitled us, not 
in particular, but in common with all the rest 
of mankind. That we had appealed to the Su- 
preme Being for his assistance as the God of 
Freedom, who could not but approve our efforts 
to preserve the rights which He had thus im- 
parted to his creatures; that now, when we 
scarcely had risen from our knees, from suppli- 
cating His aid and protection in forming our 
Government over a. free people — a Government 
formed pretendedly on the principles of liber- 
ty, and for its preservation — in that Govern- 
ment to have a provision, not only putting it 
out of its power to restrain and prevent the 
slave trade, even encouraging that most infa- 
mous traffic, by giving the States power and 
influence in the Union in proportion as they 
cruelly and wantonly sport with the rights of 
their fellow-creatures, ought to be considered 
as a solemn mockery of, and insult to, that 
God whose protection we had then implored, 
and could not fail to hold us up in detestation, 
and render us contemptible to every true friend 
of liberty in the world. It was said, it ought 
to be considered that national crimes can only 
be, and frequently are, punished in this world 
by national punishments ; and that the contin- 
uance of the slave trade, and thus giving it a 
national sanction and encouragement, ought 
to be considered as justly exposing us to the 
displeasure and vengeance of him who is 
equally Lord of all, and who views with equal 
eye the poor African slave and his American 

"It was urged, that by this system we were 
giving the General Government full and abso- 
lute power to regulate commerce, under which 
general power it would have a right to restrain, 
or totally prohibit, the slave trade. It must 
therefore appear to the world absurd and dis- 
graceful to the last degree, that we should 
except from the exercise of that power the 
only branch of commerce which is unjustifiable 
in its nature, and contrary to the rights of 
mankind. That, on the contrary, we ought 
rather to prohibit expressly, in our Constitu- 
tion, the further importation of slaves; and 
to authorize the General Government from 
time to time to make such regulations as 
should be thought most advantageous for the 
gradual abolition of slavery, and the emanci- 
pation of the slaves which are already in the 

" That slavery is inconsistent with the genius 
of republicanism, and has a tendency to de- 
stroy those principles on which it is supported, 
as it lessens the sense of the equal rights of 
mankind, and habituates us to tyranny and 
oppression. It was further urged, that, by this 
system of government, every State is to be 
protected both from foreign invasion and from 
domestic insurrections; that, from this consid- 
eration, it was of the utmost importance it 
should have a power to restrain the importation 
of slaves, since in proportion as the number 
of slaves was increased in any State, in the 

same proportion the State was weakened and 
exposed to foreign invasion or domestic insur- 
rection, and by so much less it will be able to 
protect itself against either; and therefore will 
by so much the more want aid from, and be a 
burden to, the Union. It was further said, 
that as in this sj'stem we were giving the Gen- 
eral Government a power, under the idea of 
national character or national interest, to reg- 
ulate even our weights and measures, and have 
prohibited all possibility of emitting paper 
money and passing insolvent laws, &;c., it must 
appear still more extraordinary that we should 
prohibit the Government from interfering with 
the slave trade, than which nothing could so 
materially affect both our national honor and 
interest. These reasons influenced me, both 
on the committee and in convention, most de- 
cidedly to oppose and vote agains*, the clause 
as it now makes a part of the system. 

"At this time, we do not generally hold this 
commerce in so great abhorrence as we have 
done. When our liberties were at stake, we 
warmly felt for the common rights of men. 
The danger being thought to be past which 
threatened ourselves, we are daily growing 
more insensible to those rights. In those 
States which have restrained or prohibited the 
importation of slaves, it is only done by leg- 
islative acts which may be repealed. When 
those States find that they must in their na- 
tional character and connection suffer in the 
disgrace and share in the inconveniences at- 
tendant upon that detestable traffic, they may 
be desirous also to share in the benefits arising 
from it, and the odium attending it will be 
greatly effaced by the sanction which is given 
it in the General Government. 

" With respect to that part of the second sec- 
tion of the first article which relates to the 
apportionment of representation and direct 
taxation, there were considerable objections 
made to it, besides the great objection of ine- 
quality. It was urged that no principle could 
justify taking slaves into computation in ap- 
portioning the number of representatives a 
State should have in the Government. That 
it involved the absurdity of increasing the 
power of a State in making laws for freemen, 
in proportion as that State violated the rights 
of freedom. That it might be proper to take 
slaves into consideration when taxes were to 
be apportioned, because it had a tendency to 
discourage slavery; but to take them into ac- 
count in giving representation, tended to en- 
courage the slave trade, and to make it the 
interest of the States to continue that in- 
famous traffic. That slaves could not be taken 
into account as men, or citizens, because they 
were not admitted to the rights of citizens in 
the States which adopted or continued slavery. 
If they were to be taken into account as prop- 
erty, it was asked, what peculiar-circumstance 
should render this property (of all others the 
most odious in its nature) entitled to the high 
privilege of conferring consequence and power 
in the Government to its possessors, rather 
than any other; and why slaves should, as 



property, be taken into account rather than 
horses, cattle, mules, or any other species; and 
it was observed by an honorable member from 
Massachusetts, [Elbridge Gerry,] that he 
considered it as dishonorable and humiliating 
to enter into compact with the slaves of the 
Southern States, as it would with the horses 
and mules of the Eastern." 


Sir, iniquitous and most dishonorable to 
Maryland is that dreary system of partial bond- 
age which her laws have hitherto supported 
with a solicitude worthy of abetter object, and 
her citizens by their practice countenanced. 

Founded in a disgraceful traffic, to which 
the parent country lent her fostering aid from 
motives of interest, but which even she would 
have disdained to encourage, had England been 
the destined mart of such inhuman merchan- 
dise, its continuance is as shameful as its origin. 

Wherefore should we confine the edge of 
censure to our ancestors, or those from whom 
they purchased? Are not we equally guilty? 
They strewed around the seeds of slavery — we 
cherish and sustain the growth. They intro- 
duced the system — we enlarge, invigorate, and 
confirm it. 

That the dangerous consequences of this 
system of bondage have not as yet been felt, 
does not prove they never will be. At least, 
the experiment has not been sufficiently made, 
to preclude speculation and conjecture. To 
me, sir, nothing for which I have not the evi- 
dence of my senses is more clear, than that it 
will one day destroy that reverence for liberty, 
which is the vital principle of a republic. 

While a majority of your citizens are ac- 
customed to rule with the authority of despots, 
within particular limits ; while your youth are 
reared in the habit of thinking that the great 
rights of human nature are not so sacred but 
they may with innocence be trampled on, can 
it be expected that the public mind should 
glow with that generous ardor in the cause of 
freedom, which can alone save a Government 
like ours from the lurking demon of usurpa- 
tion? Do you not dread the contamination of 

The example of Rome shows that slaves are 
the proper, natural implements of usurpation, 
and therefore a serious and alarming evil in 
every free community. With much to hope 
for by a change, and nothing to lose, they have 
no fears of consequences. Despoiled of their 
rights by the acts of Government and its cit- 
izens, they have no checks of pity or of con- 
science, but are stimulated, by the desire of 
reven'ge, to spread wide the horrors of desola- 
tion, and to subvert the foundation of that 
liberty of which they have never participated, 
and which they have only been permitted to 
envy in others. 

But where slaves are manumitted by Gov- 
ernment, or in consequence of its provisions, 
the same motives which have attached them 
to tyrants, when the act of emancipation has 

flowed from them, would then attach them 
to Government. They are then no longer the 
creatures of despotisn. They are bound, by 
gratitude as well as by interest, to seek the wel- 
fare of that country from which they have de- 
rived the restoration of their plundered rights, 
and with whose prosperity their own is insep- 
arably involved. All apostacy from these 
principles, which form the good citizen, would, 
under such circumstances, be next to impossi- 
ble. — Speech in the Maryland House of Dele- 
gates, 1V89. 

Extract from a Prize Essay on the comparative 
Economy of Free and Slave Labor in Agri- 
culture, by James Raymond, of Frederick, Ma- 
ryland. Published by the Frederick County 
Agricultural Society, in 1827. 
"The same causes which induced England 
to prohibit slavery at home, while she waa 
pouring them into her colonies, led Spain to 
pursue the same course. And so of France, 
and all the European PoM^ers who were sup- 
plied with free labor at home, but had in- 
fant colonies in the West Indies or America, 
which would lie for a short time without cul- 
tivation for the want of labor, unless a forced, 
unnatural, and, in the long run, an unprofitable 
system was resorted to, to supply the article. 
Instead of waiting for the new world to popu- 
late with laborers by the emigration of free- 
men and the natural increase of population, 
slavery was resorted to as a more speedy 
method of introducing labor. But the ten 
millions of inhabitants with which two hun- 
dred years have peopled the United States, 
show how small must have been the necessity 
of enslaving mankind in order to introduce 
human labor into America. Labor, like all 
other commodities, if it had been left free to 
regulate itself by the conflicting interests and 
necessities of mankind, would soon have found 
its way to the place where it was wanted, and 
supplied the demand. That this momentary 
deficiency of free labor was the sole cause of 
introducing slavery into America, appears con- 
clusively, from the fact that those nations who 
introduced it, prohibited slavery at home, where 
there was free labor enough to do the work. 
Slave labor could only obtain where free labor 
was absent. The former was not able to com- 
pete with the latter, where the employer had 
his choice." — See African [Colonization) Re- 
pository, June, 182 7. 


Slavery was contrary to the laws of nature 
and of nations, and that the law of South Car- 
olina, concerning seizing colored seamen, was 
unconstitutional. * -x- * Last and lowest, 
a feculum of beings called overseers — the most 
abject, degraded, unprincipled race — always 
cap in hand to the dons who employ them, 
and furnishing materials for their pride, inso- 
lence, and love of dominion. — Life of Patrick 


The Slave Trade condemued by the page. 
people of the South in County and 
State Conventions, and by the Con- 
tinental Congress, 3, 4, 5 

The Writings of Washington, 5, 6, V, 8 

Dr. Franklin on Slavery, 8, 9, 10, 38, 39 

Tlios. Jefferson on Slavery, 10, 29 — 37 

Mr. Chase, of Maryland, 11 

John Adams, of Massachusetts, 11 

Mr. Wilson, of Pennsylvania, 11, 17, 19, 27 

Mr. Madison, 12,13,18, 19, 22, 24, 25, 38, 39,71, 88 

KufusKing, 13, 14 

Gouverneur Morris, of Penn., 14, 15, 18, 19 

Edmund Randolph, of Va., 14, 17, 19, 20, 25 
Roger Sherman, of Connecticut, 14, 16, 18,19 

Luther Martin, of Maryland, 15,93 

Col. George Mason, of Va., 16, 18, 20, 21, 23 

Mr. Dickinson, of Pennsylvania, 17, 18, 19 

Mr. Langdon, of New Hampshire, 17 

Mr. Williamson, of North Carolina, 18 

Mr. Lee, of Westmoreland, 20 

Mr. Pendleton, of Va., 20 

Patrick Henry, , 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 79 

George Nicholas, 21, 23 

Mr. Tyler, of Virginia, 22 

Mr. McDowell, of North Carolina, 26 

Mr. Iredell, of North Carolina, 26, 27 

Mr. Wright, of North Carolina, 26 

Mr. Galloway, of North Carolina, 26 

Mr. Gaston, of North Carolina, 37 

Mr. Parker, of Virginia, 38 

Memorial from Pennsylvania Abolition 

Society, 38, 40, 41, 42 

Mr. Seney, of Maryland, 39 

Mr. Page, of Virginia, 39, 41 

Report of the House of Representatives, 40, 41 

Mr. White, of Virginia, 40 

Mr. Vining, of Delaware, 41 

Quaker Memorial, 41 

Debate on Emancipation in the Virginia 

Legislature in 1832, 42 

Richmond Enquirer, 43 

Mr. Moore, of Rockbridge, 43 

Mr. Rives, of Campbell, 44 

Mr. Powell, 44 

Mr. Preston, 44 

Mr. Summers, of Kanawha, 44 

Mr. Chandler, of Norfolk, 44 

Mr. Thomas J. Randolph, of Albemarle,.... 46 
Mr. Henry Berry, of JeflFersou, 46 


Mr. Thomas Marshall, of Fauquier, 47 

Mr. James McDowell, of Rockbridge, 47 

Mr. Philip A. Boiling, of Buckingham, 49 

Gen. Brodnax, of Dinwiddle, 49 

Hon. Charles J. Faulkner, 50 — 54 

Nashville (Tenn.) Banner, 54 

Nashville (Tenn.) Republican, 54 

State Convention of Tennessee, 54 

Mr. Stephenson, of Tennessee, 54 

Mr. Laughlin, of Tennessee, 54, 55 

Protest against non-action, (Tenn.) 54, 55 

St. George Tucker, of Virginia, 55 

Henry Clay, 55 — 59, 76 

William Pinkney, of Maryland 60, 62, 95 

General Lafayette, 63, 64 

G. W. P. Custis ,63, 64, 80 

Bishop Meade, of Virginia, 64 

Presbyterian Church on Slavery, 65 

Delaware Colonization Society, 66 

Norfolk, Va., Calouization Society, 66 

Hon. Francis S. Key, 67 

President Young, of Transylvania College,. ..67 

Rev. Robert J. Breckenridge, Ky., 68 

Gen. Robert Goodloe Harper, of Md., 69 

John Randolph, of Roanoke, 71 

President Monroe, 71, 78 

General Jackson, 72 

Ordinance of 1787, 72 

Judicial Decisions, 72 

Judge Bushrod Washington, 77 

William H. Fitzhugh, Esq., of Va., 77 

Virginia Legislature, 81, 82 

Tennessee Synod, 83 

Tennessee Legislature, 83 

General Oglethorpe, 84 

Kentucky Colonization Society, 85 

J. A. McKinney, of Tennessee, 85 

Rev. Mr. Ross, of Tennessee, 87 

Senator Underwood, of Kentucky, 87 

Gradual Emancipation in Kentucky, 88 

Judge Marshall, 89 

Hon. W. S. Archer, of Virginia, 89 

J. B. Harrison, Esq., of Lynchburg, 90, 91 

H. J. Thornton, Esq., of Alabama, 91 

Richard H. Toler, Esq., of Virginia, 92 

Kentucky Memorial, 93 

Greensborough (N. C.) Patriot, 93 

Prize Essay, Maryland,. 95 

William Wirt, 95 





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